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How Experiments End

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end "Our task is...to look inside the laboratory to understand how teams of physicists mount a case for the existence of a process that takes place in a hundred-millionth of a second and looks like ten other processes." - from Preface

This book is addressed to readers interested in how arguments emerge from the modern physical laboratory. It is neither an overview of particle physics nor a collection of results of 'great experiments' summarized to teach physics. Instead, the book is written for those intrigued by the history, philosophy, and sociology of laboratory science, as well as for working physicists. Motivating the book are several questions: What bits of theory shape experimentalists' faith in a microphysical effect? Which piece of apparatus can they trust? How does the overwhelming historical expansion of the laboratory from bench to factory affect the building of a persuasive argument?

"Galison provides excellent histories of three experimental episodes: the measurement of the gyromagnetic ratio of the electron, the discovery of the mu meson, or muon, and the discovery of weak neutral currents. These studies of actual experiments will provide valuable material for both philosophers and historians of science and Galison's own thoughts on the nature of experiment are extremely important. . . . Galison has given both philosophers and historians much to think about. I strongly urge you to read this book."--Allan Franklin, British Journal of the Philosophy of Science "Anyone who is seriously concerned with understanding how research is done should read this. There have been many books on one or another part of its subject matter but few giving such insights into how the research is done and how the consensus of discovery is arrived at." --Frank Close, New Scientist

"[Galison] is to be congratulated on producing a masterpiece in the field."--Michael Redhead, Synthese

"How Experiments End is a major historical work on an exciting topic."--Andy Pickering, Isis

 

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