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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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The Individual in the ATLAS Collaboration: A Learning Perspective

The Individual in the ATLAS Collaboration: A Learning Perspective

(p.201) 10 The Individual in the ATLAS Collaboration: A Learning Perspective
Collisions and Collaboration

Beatrice Bressan

Max Boisot

Oxford University Press

This chapter shifts the focus to individuals working in the ATLAS Collaboration. What do they expect to get out of working in a large team such as the ATLAS Collaboration and what will others get out of their participation? Answers to these questions lie at the interface of individual and collective learning — sometimes called ‘organization learning’. Drawing on interviews with individuals working in the ATLAS Collaboration, the chapter explores how the learning experiences offered to the individual in the ATLAS project scale up to trigger collective learning, and, in turn, how the latter, working in tandem with CERN's institutional structures, subsequently comes to shape the context of individual learning processes. The interviewees were drawn from the many different groups working on the detector — the tile calorimeter, the liquid argon detector, the pixel detector, the trigger, the software group, and so on. Some were working on their doctoral thesis in experimental physics, others were postdocs. Some were physicists, some were electronic or mechanical engineers, some were software specialists. In order better to understand the learning dynamics that characterize Big Science, the concept of social capital was used to link up the individual learning experiences of individuals to the collective outcomes that drive the social learning cycle (SLC) in the I-Space.

Keywords:   ATLAS Collaborations, social capital, social learning cycle, Information-Space, organizational learning, individual learning

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