The Golem at Large by Harry Collins
What You Should Know about Technology

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Synopsis

In the very successful and widely discussed first volume in the Golem series, The Golem: What You Should Know About Science, Harry Collins 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 described in the first volume. 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.
 

About Harry Collins

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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 Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. He is the coeditor of "How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology" (MIT Press, 2003) and the coauthor of "Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer" and other books.
 
Published October 13, 1998 by Cambridge University Press. 175 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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This is the cautioning metaphor the authors took up in their previous books on science (The Golem) and technology (The Golem at Large) and which they now apply to medicine, focusing each of eight chapters on a different aspect of modern medicine's capabilities and shortcomings.

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Publishers Weekly

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Collins and Pinch reprise the case study format of their previous coauthored book (The Golem: What You Should Know About Science) and, once again, it works.

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