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My (more focused) exam list for science studies

January 17, 2011

I am am planning on adding some most up to date articles so suggest away.

Bibliography for Research Field: Science Studies

This reading list contains all the reading that I will be doing for my research field pertinent to the history, philosophy, cultural studies and sociology of physics, as well as everything else that is relevant. I have outlined my particular area of interest in this field in an accompanying document on my research field manifesto. All the books that I have listed here are the ones I intend to read for my own research. I am also including books that may not be directly related but contains particular philosophical conceptualization that may be useful for comparative epistemology.


Barad, Karen. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke University press, 2007.
-Provides a feminist, queer and materialist relationship between quantum physics and the real world. Quantum physics provide the ontological framework for interrogating nature and culture. “…a naturalist understanding of the world is grounded in our best scientific theories rather than in philosophical preconceptions and would have us conceive of science as a natural activity conducted within and by nature, not an investigation of nature from the outside.”

Bohm, David and David Hiley. The Undivided Universe: an Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory. London & New York: Routledge, 1993.

-Bohm’s ontolological investigations into quantum mechanics, from single body to multiple bodies. Transition states are also investigated, and the movement of a single electron is deconstructed to discern the energy levels involved. The reader is also introduced to quantum fields and the ontology of measurements

Bohr, Niels. The Theory of Spectra and Atomic Constitution: Three Essays by Niels Bohr. Cambridge: The University Press, 1922
-His work on classical quantum mechanics and the early stages of modern QM.

Born, Max. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. New York: Dover’s Publication, 1965.
-Born’s critique on the Einsteinian Relativity principles.

Haraway, Donna J. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: the Reinvention of Nature. London: Free Association Books, 1987.
Rethinking the notion of entanglement of science with gender, culture with nature, and the parameters that constitute the cyborg body.

Fleck, Ludwig. Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. Trans. Fred Bradley and Thaddeus J. Trenn. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1979.
This work precedes the work done by Latour in “The Pasteurization of France.” In this work, Fleck interrogates how a scientific fact is developed.

Heisenberg, Werner. Philosophical Problems of Quantum Physics. Woodbridge, Connecticut: Ox Bow Press, 1952.
Looking into some of the philosophical issues in quantum physics that are often neglected by practicing scientists. Particularly pertinent as quantum physics was a developing new science undercutting theoretical controversies, though by the 1950s, its empirical possibilities have been harnessed for big science such as nuclear physics and the atomic bomb.

Keller, Evelyn Fox. Reflections on Gender and Science. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985. 
Could there be such a thing as a gender-free science, or the relationship between gender and science. Not read this yet so still open for question

Keller, Evelyn Fox and Helen Longino. Feminism & Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
A collection of essays on feminism and science. A collection of essays on how feminist theory can be used to look at scientific practices from different fields and angles. Have read some of the articles in this collection, but not all.

Landa, Manuel de. Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy. London & NY: Continuum, 2002.
Taking a Deleuzian approach to studying epistemology and science.

Latour, Bruno. Science in Action: how to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.
Sociology of scientific institutions and scientific experiments; power levels in dissemination of knowledge and the different bodies (human and non-human) involved.

Omnès, Roland. Quantum philosophy: understanding and interpreting contemporary science. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Nature: course notes from College de France. Evanston, Il: Northwestern University Press, 2003.
A phenomenological approach to the nature of science, beginning from the works of Leibniz, and other German Idealists. It is interested in interrogating the subject and subjectivity of nature’s ontology.

Pauli, Wolfgang. Writings on Physics and Philosophy. Eds. Charles P. Enz and Karl von Meyem. Trans. Robert Schlapp. Berlin & Heidelberg, 1994.
Pauli writes about the philosophical significance of complementarity, about space, time and causality, symmetry and the exclusion principle, but also about the role of the unconscious in modern science. His famous article on Kepler is included as well as many historical essays on Bohr, Ehrenfest, and Einstein as well as on the influence of the unconscious on scientific theories. (took this summary from Amazon since I have only just got hold of the book).

Parisi, Luciana. Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Bio-technology and the Mutation of Desire. London &NY: Continuum, 2004.
Takes Deleuze’s A Thousand Plateaus and Difference and Repetition (should I include the latter in this list?) to a different level of abstraction. The coding, variation, mutation and transmission of gene-size information can be translated into thinking about quanta-size information, and also helpful in thinking about abstract forms of information within a relativity framework.

Rotman, Brian. Mathematics as Signs: Writing, Imagining, Counting. Stanford: Stanford University press, 2000.
Reading this as a thesis on mathematical signs and semiotics.

Serres, Michel. Birth of Physics. Trans. Jack Hawkes. London: Clinamen Press Ltd, 2000. Traweek, Sharon. Beamtimes and Lifetimes: the world of high-energy physicists. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.
Looking back into the historicity of physics from the time of Aristotle and Lucretius. Need to read more before commenting.

Simondon. “Genesis of the Individual”
Individuation and physics (I admit having to reread this article as I didn’t take good notes on it.

Whitehead, Alfred North. Science and the Modern World. New York, The Macmillan company, 1948.
Philosophical writing on science and mathematics. Need to read this before commenting further.

Stengers, Isabelle. The Invention of Modern Science. Trans. Daniel W Smith. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.
Haven’t read this so cannot comment. But I suppose it would fall under theory/methodology


Cetina Knorr, Karin. Epistemic Cultures: How Sciences Make Knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.
-A comparative study between the methodologies involved in analyzing microbiological experiments and supercolliding particle physics experiments.

Feyerabend, Paul. Farewell to Reason. London & NY: Verso, 1987.
Critique of logico-positivism and the belief that scientific understanding and results could only be arrived through orderly steps.

Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.
I think this is a compulsory reading for anyone engaging with historicizing epistemology, and the fact that it is interested in the theorizing the human sciences (in the broadest sense of the meaning of the term) sets the stage for bringing the theory into methodical practice.

*Kuhn, Thomas. The structure of Scientific Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
One of the defining books (though this is the revised edition to the first version) in the history and sociology of science. Probably can read this in relation to some follow up articles in “Essential Tension”

Lakatos, Imre. The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes: Philosophical Papers Volume 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.
Critiques Popper and Kuhn’s work through his in depth work on how scientific research programmes really function.

Lakatos, Imre. Mathematics, Science and Epistemology: Philosophical Papers Volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.
Not read this yet.

Pickering, Andrew. The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency and Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
This book is interested in the same issues as Galison’s How Experiments End but takes on a social-constructivist approach to querying methodology. I haven’t read much of the book yet but hope to finish it soon.

Poincaré, Henri. Science and Hypothesis. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1952.
A philosophy/scientific methodology book written by a mathematical physicist. Will comment more once read.

Suarez, Mauricio. Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealization. New York: Routledge, 2009.
Collection of essays on fictional models of science by various philosophers, historians and sociologist of science.


Galison, Peter. Image and Logic: a material culture of microphysics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.A continuation of the work Galison had begun in “How Experiments End.” Looks into the separate path that physics experiments have taken as physicists become more accustomed with dealing with abstrac forms of data rather than in ‘looking’ and ‘sensing’ them directly.

Garber, Elizabeth. The Language of Physics: the calculus and the development of theoretical physics in Europe, 1750-1914. Boston: Birkhaeuser, 1999.
Provides the background in helping us understand the development of theoretical physics.

Mehta, Jagdish. The Historical Development of Quantum Theory. Vols (1-6). NY: Springer-Verlag, 1982-1988.
Six-volume study on the historical development of quantum theory from its earliest years. Covers the debates as well as the important ideas that have been carried through time. A staple for anyone engaging with the historiography of quantum theory.

______________. Constructing Quarks: a sociological history of particle physics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
This book I have read more of and it actually works well together with Galison and Knorr-Cetina’s books listed here in providing the background to experimental particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider.

Plotnitsky, Arkady. Epistemology and Probability: Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrödinger ,and the Nature of Quantum-Theoretical Thinking. New York & Dordrecht: Springer, 2010.
Pretty new in the market and I think it provides the sort of critical historicization needed to the debates and controversies around Bohr, Heisenberg and Schroedinger, especially in dealing with the different manifestation of the quantum theory.
Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg. On historicizing epistemology: an essay. Stanford, CA : Stanford University Press, 2010. Not read yet but this guy is a historian of science.

Schweber, Silvan S. QED and the Men who made it. NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.
This is an interesting, if somewhat convoluted history, on how quantum electrodynamics came about. This is a sub-set of the larger field of quantum theory and is the precursor to the development of quantum field theory. Both historical and sociological conditions of the main actors were interrogated, as are the massive amounts of equations that I do not always understand.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2011 10:35 pm

    I find Mehra & Rechenberg unreadable for history of QM, to be honest. Not organised enough. Darrigol’s From C-numbers to Q-numbers is better.

    For QED, David Kaiser’s Drawing Theories Apart is a great read although it focuses more on Feynman diagrams.

  2. Clarissa Ai Ling Lee permalink*
    January 30, 2011 10:40 pm

    Finally, some suggestions to visit. Thanks! 🙂


  1. Top Five or Ten: The pithy plinth of Real Science » laka

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