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Collisions and CollaborationThe Organization of Learning in the ATLAS Experiment at the LHC$
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Max Boisot, Markus Nordberg, Saïd Yami, and Bertrand Nicquevert

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567928.001.0001

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Introduction: Big Science Challenges in the Twenty-First Century

Introduction: Big Science Challenges in the Twenty-First Century

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: Big Science Challenges in the Twenty-First Century
Source:
Collisions and Collaboration
Author(s):

Max Boisot

Markus Nordberg

Saïd Yami

Bertrand Nicquevert

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567928.003.0001

With the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the high-energy physics (HEP) community appears to be putting all its eggs in one basket. The choice is framed by opponents as being between a single uncertain and risky Big Science project and several smaller, less risky, and more immediately useful ones. Many physicists assume that their discipline is in some sense foundational and generative of other kinds of knowledge. In the philosophy of science, this assumption has a name: reductionism. It is by no means universally shared. The stakes are high and getting higher as the scale of physics experiments increases and the competition for scarce research resources intensifies. There is a need for a more nuanced understanding of what the pay-offs of this kind of research might be and for whom. This book offers different perspectives on how these issues play out; not at the broad level of HEP, but at the more concrete level of one of the four major experiments that will use the LHC: the ATLAS Collaboration. A number of management scholars as well as participants in the ATLAS Collaboration came together to explore the different organizational, institutional, and cultural issues confronting an experiment like ATLAS. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   ATLAS Collaboration, Large Hadron Collider, CERN, physics experiments, high-energy physics

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