Tags: Alphonse de Candolle, Arnold Thackray, Charles Gillispie, Derek de Solla Price, Donald Beaver, Francis Galton, Harriet Zuckerman, Robert K. Merton, Robert Young, Roy MacLeod, Steven Shapin, Thomas Kuhn
Following up on a reference in Gieryn 1982, I’ve been reading over Robert K. Merton’s long essay, “The Sociology of Science: An Episodic Memoir,” in The Sociology of Science in Europe (1977), pp. 3-141. I’ll post more on it soon in the context of other recent posts on this blog. For the moment, I’ll just say that the essay is thin on “norms”, “counter-norms”, “ambivalence”, etc. It is mainly about the intellectual influences on the sociology of science that developed in the 1960s and ’70s. It is also about the methods, ambitions, and projects of what Merton still regarded as a nascent discipline. It turns out these projects are well worth a tangential post, or two.
In this post, I want to focus on Merton’s account of his involvement with the planning of the Dictionary of Scientific Biography (DSB), and the computerized “data bank” that didn’t accompany it.