The Golem at Large: What You Should Know about Technology

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Cambridge University Press, May 2, 2002 - Science - 176 pages
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In the widely discussed first volume in the Golem series, The Golem: What You Should Know About Science, Harry Colllins and Trevor Pinch likened science to the Golem, a creature from Jewish mythology, a powerful creature which, while not evil, can be dangerous because it is clumsy. In this second volume, the authors now consider the Golem of technology. In a series of case studies they demonstrate that the imperfections in technology are related to the uncertainties in science. The case studies cover the role of the Patriot anti-missile missile in the Gulf War, the Challenger space shuttle explosion, tests of nuclear fuel flasks and of anti-misting kerosene as a fuel for airplanes, economic modeling, the question of the origins of oil, analysis of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the contribution of lay expertise to the analysis of treatments for AIDS. Anyone who views technology with a wary eye will love The Golem at Large. Harry Collins is Professor of Sociology at Cardiff University and Director for the Study of Knowledge Expertise and Science at the University of Wales. His other books include the forthcoming The One Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2001) and (with M. Kusch) The Shape of Actions (MIT, 1998). nTrevor Pinch is a founding member of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University, where he is now chair. He is co-editor (with Wiebe E. Bijker) of The Social Construction of Technological Systems (MIT, 1989).

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Page 1 - is powerful. It grows a little more powerful every day. It will follow orders, do your work, and protect you from the ever threatening enemy. But it is clumsy and dangerous. Without control a golem may destroy its masters with its flailing vigour;
Page ix - The full bibliographic references to the works discussed both in this Preface and the other chapters, as well as additional reading, will be found in the Bibliography at the end of the volume.
Page 1 - pitiless juggernaut. What, then, is science? Science is a golem. A golem is a creature of Jewish mythology. It is a humanoid made by man from clay and water, with incantations and spells.
Page i - on the one hand and the humanities and social sciences on the other. It is

About the author (2002)

Harry Collins is Distinguished Research Professor in Sociology and Director of the Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise and Science (KES) at Cardiff University. His book, with Trevor Pinch, The Golem: What You Should Know About Science (Cambridge University Press, 1993) won the 1995 Robert Merton Prize of the American Sociological Association. He is the 1997 recipient of the J. D. Bernal Award of the Society for Social Studies of Science.

Trevor Pinch is current Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University. His book, with Harry Collins, The Golem: What You Should Know About Science (Cambridge University Press, 1993) won the Merton Prize of the American Sociological Association.

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