Harry Collins on acquiring and using scientific knowledge

In search of inspiration for his master’s thesis in sociology at the University of Essex in 1970, Harry Collins wandered around the school’s scientific laboratories. He ended up writing about a research group that was trying to replicate a new type of laser. Collins focused on the tacit transfer of knowledge among scientists. “Science is more about learning a language or culture than about transmitting discrete bits of information or following formulae,” he says.

Credit: Susan Collins

For his PhD, at the University of Bath, and then at various institutions around the world, Collins continued studying scientists. He has published more than 20 books on topics ranging from the discovery of gravitational waves to developments in artificial…

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