At the ETH Zürich on Monday September 28, 2012Posted by Will Thomas in Uncategorized.
On Monday, 1 October, at 10am, I will be giving a seminar at the Chair for Science Studies (I guess that’s what they call a department) of the ETH in Zürich on the practices of particle detection. I assume if you are in Zürich and you read this blog you will already know about this, but, if not, contact the department (or Max Stadler, a product of Imperial CHoSTM, by the way) for details.
The seminar will be based on my new paper “Strategies of Detection: Interpretive Methods in Experimental Particle Physics, 1930–1950,” which is forthcoming in the November issue of Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. The paper is basically a deep engagement with Peter Galison’s ideas, on his own territory of particle physics, concerning how “mesoscopic” histories of scientific practices can be written and developed. I blogged a little on this subject back in 2009. At a more nitty-gritty level, the paper also makes some new points about how cloud chamber images were interpreted, how nuclear physics knowledge was used to narrow ranges of possible interpretations of experiments using all kinds of detectors, and how interpretive practices changed markedly before and after new discoveries became routine rather than resisted (I argue, in particular, that the rise of “decay mode” analysis marked a major break in interpretive practice). I’ll write more about this here after the article’s out.