How Experiments End

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 15, 1987 - Science - 330 pages
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Preface 1. Introduction 1.1. Strategies of Demonstration 1.2. Errors and Endings 1.3. Presuppositions and the Scope of Experimental Autonomy 1.4. Overview 2. From Aggregates to Atoms 2.1. History versus Statistics 2.2. The Apparatus of Averages 2.3. Molecular Magnets 2.4. The Electron 2.5. Einstein’s Experiment 2.6. Einstein’s Presuppositions 2.7. The Forgotten Influence of Terrestrial Magnetism 2.8. Expectations Defied 2.9. Ducks, Rabbits, and Errors 2.10. The Scylla and Charybdis of Ending an Experiment 3. Particles and Theories 3.1. Particles One by One 3.2. Millikan’s Cosmic Rays 3.3. Beliefs behind the "Birth Cry of Atoms" 3.4. Contesting Instruments and Theories 3.5. Testing Quantum Mechanics 3.6. Quantum Theory Fails 3.7. A New Kind of Radiation 3.8. Regrouping the Phenomena 3.9. Two Cases for a New Particle 3.10. Corroboration by Theory, Corroboration by Experiment 3.11. Persuasive Evidence and the End of Experiments 4. Ending a High-Energy Physics Experiment 4.1. The Scale of High-Energy Physics 4.2. The Collective Wisdom: No Neutral Currents 4.3. Symmetries and Infinities 4.4. Priorities 4.5. Good Reasons for Disbelief 4.6. The Role of Theorists 4.7. Background and Signal 4.8. Do Neutral Currents "Really Exist"? 4.9. A Picture Book Event 4.10. The Expanding Circle of Belief 4.11. Models, Background, and Commitment 4.12. Experiment 1A: Parts and Participants 4.13. Short Circuits and High Theory 4.14. First Data 4.15. "Shadow of a Suspicion" 4.16. Dismantling an Ending 4.17. "I Don’t See How to Make These Effects Go Away" 5. Theoretical and Experimental Cultures 5.1. Levels of Theoretical Commitment 5.2. Long-Term Constraints 5.3. Middle-Term Constraints 5.4. Short-Term Constraints 5.5. Carving Away the Background 5.6. Directness, Stability, and the Stubbornness of Phenomena 6. Scale, Complexity, and the End of Experiments 6.1. The Assembly of Arguments 6.2. Collaborations and Communities 6.3. Subgroups, Arguments, and History 6.4. The End Appendix: Authors of Papers on Neutral Currents Abbreviations for Archival Sources Bibliography Index.
 

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Contents

From Aggregates to Atoms
21
Particles and Theories
75
Ending a HighEnergy Physics Experiment
135
Theoretical and Experimental Cultures
243
Scale Complexity and the End of Experiments
263
Authors of Papers on Neutral Currents
279
Bibliography
285
Index
309
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About the author (1987)

Peter Galison is Mallinckrodt Professor of History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University.

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