Lec16 International Strategies for Scientific Dialogue

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Lec16 International Strategies for Scientific Dialogue

  1. 1. International strategies for scientific dialogue. Phil 133 – Ethics in Science San José State University
  2. 2. Idealized picture of science <ul><li>Scientific community as a meritocracy: </li></ul><ul><li>Universalism (everyone’s contributions taken seriously regardless of personal characteristics, national origins) </li></ul><ul><li>Organized skepticism (all contributions checked, not taken on authority) </li></ul><ul><li>Communism (all contributions to scientific literature potentially useful) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Science as actually practiced <ul><li>Some scientists listened to more than others? </li></ul><ul><li>Some trusted more, others checked more? </li></ul><ul><li>Some journals more important, credible than others? </li></ul><ul><li>Hierarchies within scientific community. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Local cultures of science <ul><li>Influenced by </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific field </li></ul><ul><li>Training environment </li></ul><ul><li>Larger society in which scientists are embedded </li></ul>
  5. 5. The role of the anthropologist: <ul><li>“ It is … widely accepted that we should not have been socialized in the community we study: we learn the locally valued ways of talking and thinking and acting by another route, one which is accompanied by a constant questioning about why this way rather than that one, an attitude almost never tolerated in conventional socialization.” (Traweek, “Border Crossings,” 438-439) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Japanese attitudes: <ul><li>Participate in global society </li></ul><ul><li>But, don’t lose your Japanese character! </li></ul>
  7. 7. Japanese scientists returning from abroad: <ul><li>“Some scientists work very hard at erasing all traces of their time abroad. Other former expatriates choose not to erase or conceal their foreign habits; some even want to insist on their new ways being acknowledged. But most returnees want their hard-won foreign skills to be recognized as useful and important in Japan; they want to be a resource, not a problem.” (178) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Japanese attitudes: <ul><li>Participate in global society </li></ul><ul><li>But, don’t lose your Japanese character! </li></ul><ul><li>Risk of becoming bachigai (strange, out of place) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Japanese scientific institutions <ul><li>Hierarchical university system </li></ul><ul><li>University chairs control resource distribution in their research area </li></ul><ul><li>Ministry of Education creates and funds university chairs </li></ul>
  10. 10. Japanese scientific institutions <ul><li>Nuclear physics prioritized over other subdisciplines </li></ul><ul><li>More nuclear physicists in Japan Physical Society (JPS), university chairs </li></ul><ul><li>High energy physics lower in hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Inverts hierarchy of physics in U.S. and western Europe </li></ul>
  11. 11. New institutions: “science city” <ul><li>Tied to regional economic development plan </li></ul><ul><li>Not administered by Ministry of Education </li></ul><ul><li>New high energy physics laboratory facility (KEK) </li></ul><ul><li>Equipment exclusively from local industries </li></ul><ul><li>Departure from normal channels – bachigai ! </li></ul>
  12. 12. Tsukuba Science City ( bachigai ) <ul><li>Outside of university system </li></ul><ul><li>Outside of standard funding channels </li></ul><ul><li>Located in a “backwater” (Ibaraki Prefecture) </li></ul><ul><li>Focused on low-status discipline (high energy physics) </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese scientists who had been abroad a long time </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of foreign researchers </li></ul>
  13. 13. Tsukuba Science City ( bachigai ) <ul><li>Being bachigai lowered their status within the Japanese physics community </li></ul><ul><li>New facilities, equipment, international collaborations intended to raise their status within international community of high energy physics </li></ul>
  14. 14. Exciting data from AMY group <ul><li>“ For a while some physicists in the AMY group thought that they had found the top quark, a highly prized and predicted but then undetected particle. These physicists were very excited, but others in the group were exceedingly skeptical; they wanted to wait for more data before announcing anything that they might have to retract. The cautious ones pointed out that it would be too embarrassing to be wrong: they argued that AMY and KEK could not get away with ‘pulling a Rubbia’.” (451) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Exciting data from AMY group <ul><li>“At one meeting the excited ones made a convincing argument: suppose they were right and AMY and KEK lost credit because they were timid outsiders. ‘Why have we taken the risk to be at KEK in the first place?’ ” (452) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Strategic use of being bachigai <ul><li>Present data (in Japanese) at JPS meeting in Osaka </li></ul><ul><li>Written version (in English) in meeting proceedings </li></ul><ul><li>High energy physicists in U.S. and Europe wouldn’t notice announcement </li></ul><ul><li>Enough to establish AMY group’s priority claim for discovery </li></ul>
  17. 17. Strategic use of being bachigai <ul><li>Announcement of findings that was public, but low profile </li></ul><ul><li>Less embarrassment if they ended up retracting the data </li></ul>
  18. 18. English as international language of physics <ul><li>Japanese physics journals that are only published in English (but still not read by physicists in U.S. and Europe) </li></ul><ul><li>American physicists viewed as central to the scientific community (others peripheral) </li></ul>

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