When two argue, the third… observes: A sociological study of scientific controversies

Published: 2023
Československý časopis pro fyziku, 73 (1): 4-7
This is the second of six texts on sociology of science and scientific knowledge (and, more broadly, so called Science Studies) – the discipline that has often taken physics as an object of study. Why, in the field of Science Studies, have the scientific controversies been objects of so passionate interest? We explain the importance and methodological consequences of this empirical programme. Then, the specificity of this approach is discussed with the reference to the Trevor Pinch's study of R. Davis's solar-neutrino experiment. We argue that, in more general terms, scientific controversies have been providing social scientists with an efficient point of access to scientific practice the multiformity of which is systematically obliterated once new scientific facts are consolidated.