In The Golem Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch liken science to the Golem, a creature from Jewish mythology, powerful yet potentially dangerous, a gentle, helpful creature that may yet run amok at any moment. Through a series of intriguing case studies the authors debunk the traditional view that science is the straightforward result of competent theorisation, observation and experimentation. The very well-received first edition generated much debate, reflected in a substantial new Afterword in this second edition, which seeks to place the book in what have become known as 'the science wars'.
Introduction: the Golem
1. Edible knowledge: the chemical transfer of memory
2. Two experiments that 'proved' the theory of relativity
3. The sun in a test tube: the story of cold fusion
4. The germs of dissent: Louis Pasteur and the origins of life
5. A new window on the universe: the non-detection of gravitational radiation
6. The sex life of the whiptail lizard
7. Set the controls for the heart of the sun: the strange story of the missing solar neutrinos
Conclusion: putting the Golem to work
References and further reading
" [...] it succeeds extraordinarily well in this task of portraying and assessing the real fabric of scientific research, based on the insights of modern scholarship."
- Bernard Dixon, former Editor, New Scientist