By Olof Hallonsten
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Additional info for Big Science Transformed : Science, Politics and Organization in Europe and the United States
A focus on the United States is both 1 Introduction and Framework 41 inevitable and deliberately chosen for the sake of richness and relevance. The first part of the chapter reviews a series of historical articles about facility projects in the US system of National Laboratories, where the resilience of these labs is proven and understood through their ability of renewal. From there, the analysis zooms in on a detailed case, namely the detailed story of how one specific Big Science organization, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, shifted focus completely from particle physics to synchrotron radiation and free electron laser in a transformation that took a few decades but is now close to completion.
2), is a prime 34 Big Science Transformed example of when and how pork barrel politics go wrong (Riordan et al. 2015: 168), but there are several other similar instances where it has played a significant role in both the launch of Big Science projects and the preservation of existing ones with new missions, with less damaging results. One particular example is the context of European collaborative Big Science, where the local/regional benefits of hosting a major project often has gotten precedence in negotiations and decisions (Hallonsten 2014a).
Though not as analytical as Drucker (1969), who uses “the knowledge society” as a headline for the last section in his renowned book the Age of Discontinuity and inserts “knowledge” at a central position of the economies of Western societies, Lane (1966) foretold some of the rhetoric of the “knowledge society” present today by presenting “knowledge” and “knowledgeable” as synonyms of “enlightenment” or “illuminated” and thus the key ingredient in a redemption of an essentially corrupt society heading in the wrong direction.