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Hybrid Careers and the Interaction of Science and Technology

  • Eda Krankis
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Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 144)

Abstract

Ideas about the science-technology relationship have gone through an important evolution over the last decades. In the 1950s and 1960s the dominant model portrayed technology as applied science. This model assumed a hierarchical, almost parasitical relationship between science and technology. It assumed that technological development followed and was dependant upon paths of scientific change, whereas science followed its own, internal line of development, largely independent of technology. By the 1970s, the limitations and deficiencies of the applied science model had become increasingly apparent. Through the efforts of Edwin Layton and others, an alternative model was developed which has since gained wide acceptance. This model portrays science and technology as two distinct, but interacting communities, each with its own traditions, goals, and values, and its own body of knowledge and technique. The two communities borrow from one another, but on their own terms, generally transforming the borrowed knowledge to adapt it to different ends. In Layton’s words:

This model [of technology as applied science] ... assumes that science and technology represent different functions performed by the same community. But a fundamental fact is that they constitute different communities, each with its own goals and systems of values. They are, of course, similar in that both deal with matter and energy. But these similarities should not be overstated. Each community has its own social controls — such as its reward system — which tend to focus the work of each on its own needs. These needs determine not only the objects of concern, but the “language” in which they are discussed. These needs may overlap; but it would be surprising if this were a very frequent occurrence. One would expect that in the normal case science would beget more science, and technology would lead to further technology.1

Keywords

Suspension Bridge Hybrid Career Interorganizational Network Cable Vibration Dual Career 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Edwin Layton, ‘Mirror-Image Twins: The Communities of Science and Technology in 19th-Century America’, Technology and Culture 12(4) (October, 1971), p. 565.Google Scholar
  2. 1a.
    A model similar to Layton’s was discussed by Barry Barnes, ‘The Science-Technology Relationship: A Model and a Query’, Social Studies of Science 12 (1982), pp. 166–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 2.
    See, e.g. Walter G. Vincenti, What Engineers Know and How They Know It: Analytical Studiesfrom Aeronautical History (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990);Google Scholar
  4. 2a.
    Nathan Rosenberg and Walter G. Vincenti, The Britannia Bridge: The Generation and Diffusion of Technological Knowledge (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1978);Google Scholar
  5. 2b.
    Eda Kranakis, ‘The French Connection: Giffard’s Injector and the Nature of Heat’, Technology and Culture 23(1) (January, 1982), pp. 3–38;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 2c.
    Ronald Kline, ′science and Engineering Theory in the Invention and Development of the Induction Motor, 1880–1900’ Technology and Culture 28(2) (April, 1987), pp. 283–313;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 2d.
    Joan Bromberg, ‘Engineering Knowledge in the Laser Field,’ Technology and Culture 27(4) (October, 1986), pp. 798–818.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 3.
    Although the “two communities” model has generally been interpreted in such as way as to emphasize the boundaries and cognitive differences between the worlds of science and technology, Layton himself acknowledged that these two domains have become increasingly intermeshed since the 19th century. He also hinted at the need for a more integrated model of science and technology: “In many modern social contexts physics and engineering have become so intermixed that it is difficult if not impossible to sort them out into neat pigeonholes. For example, in studying large, interdisciplinary research organizations, it is often more helpful to think of physicists and engineers as part of a complex ‘research system’ . Many men trained in physics ‘do’ technology, just as many men trained as engineers ‘do’ science, including ‘pure’ or undirected research.” See Edwin T. Layton, ‘Technology and Science, or, Vive la Petite Différence’, Philosophy of Science Association II(1976), pp. 173— 183. The model I am proposing here is intended to allow for the possibility of the emergence of this kind of integrated “research system”.Google Scholar
  9. 4.
    In using the terms “science” and “technology” to refer to these realms of activity, I am in effect adopting a convenient shorthand. I do not mean to suggest that the latter are historically unchanging.Google Scholar
  10. 5.
    My idea of science and technology as intersecting worlds owes a lot to the social worlds concept that is central to symbolic interactionism. I was introduced to symbolic interactionist thought and literature through the work of Joan Fujimura. I would like to thank her for many stimulating discussions. See Joan H. Fujimura, ‘Constructing “Do-able” Problems in Cancer Research: Articulating Alignment’, Social Studies of Science 17(1987), pp. 257–293; ‘The Molecular Biological Bandwagon in Cancer Research: Where Social Worlds Meet’, Social Problems 35(3) (June 1988), pp. 261–283; Bandwagons in Science: Doable Problems and Transportable Packages as Factors in the Development of the Molecular Genetic Bandwagon in Cancer Research (Ph.D. Diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1986). 6Layton, ‘Mirror Image Twins,’ pp. 577–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 7.
    The first example derives from my own research, while the other two are taken from the excellent studies by Crosbie Smith and M. Norton Wise, on William Thomson, and by Robert Marc Friedman on Vilhelm Bjerknes. See Smith and Wise, Energy and Empire: A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); and Friedman, Appropriating the Weather: Vilhelm Bjerknes and the Construction of a Modern Meteorology (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  12. 8.
    Archives Nationales, F142289, Service de Navier.Google Scholar
  13. 9.
    C.-L.-M.-H. Navier to the Director General, Corps des Ponts et Chaussées, Châlons-surSaône. 21 June 1821, Archives Nationales, F142289.Google Scholar
  14. 10.
    For an overview of Gauthey’s career and work, see Emiland Gauthey, Traité de la Construction des Ponts, C.-L.-M.-H. Navier (ed.) (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1809). This work contains a biography of Gauthey written by Navier.Google Scholar
  15. 11.
    On the Société Philomatique, see Maurice Crosland, The Society of Arcueil (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967), pp. 169–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 12.
    I. Grattan-Guinness, Joseph Fourier, 1768–1830 (Boston: MIT Press, 1975), pp. ix–x; John Herivel, Joseph Fourier: The Man and the Physicist (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), pp. 128–129.Google Scholar
  17. 13.
    A. Brunot and R. Coquand, Le Corps des Ponts et Chaussées (Paris: Editions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1982), pp. 3–37; Charles Coulston Gillispie, Science and Polity in France at the End of the Old Regime (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), pp. 479–498; Anne Querrien, ‘Ecoles et Corps: Le Cas des Ponts et Chaussées, 1747— 1848,’ unpublished MS, Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées; Cotelle, Esquisse Historique sur l’Institution des Ponts et Chaussées (Paris: Paul Dupont, 1849).Google Scholar
  18. 14.
    A. Fourcy, Histoire de l’Ecole Polytechnique, Jean Dhombres (ed.) (Paris: Belin, 1987), passim; Terry Shinn, Savoir Scientifique et Pouvoir Social: L ‘Ecole Polytechnique, 1794— 1914 (Paris: Presses de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, 1980), pp. 9–23.Google Scholar
  19. 15.
    Charles Dupin, Eloge de M. le Baron de Prony, Chambre des Pairs, 2 April 1840, pp. 22–23, 32–33; Herivel, Fourier, pp. 118, 129, 143.Google Scholar
  20. 16.
    Institut de France, Index Biographique des Membres et Correspondants de l’Académie des Sciences (Paris: Institut de France, 1954). For a fuller discussion of French engineering in the nineteenth century and its social and institutional context, see Eda Kranakis, ′social Determinants of Engineering Practice: A Comparative View of France and America in the Nineteenth Century’, Social Studies of Science 19 (February, 1989), pp. 5–70.Google Scholar
  21. 17.
    Louis L. Bucciarelli, ‘Poisson and the Mechanics of Elastic Surfaces,’ in Michel Métivier, Pierre Costabel, and Pierre Dugac (eds.), Siméon-Denis Poisson et la Science de son Temps (Palaiseau: Ecole Polytechnique, 1981), pp. 95–104;Google Scholar
  22. 17a.
    Stephen P. Timoshenko, History of Strength of Materials (1953, rpt. New York: Dover, 1983), pp. 119–122.Google Scholar
  23. 18.
    C.-L.-M.-H. Navier, Rapport à M. Becquey et Mémoire sur les Ponts Suspendus (Paris: Imprimérie Royale, 1823), 2nd ed. Paris: Carilian-Goeury, 1830. Navier’s theory of suspension bridges is examined more fully in Eda Kranakis, `Navier’s Theory of Suspension Bridges,’ in J.L. Berggren and B.R. Goldstein (eds.), ‘From Ancient Omens to Statistical Mechanics: Essays on the Exact Sciences Presented to Asger Aaboe’, Acta Historical Scientiarum Naturalium et Medicinalium 39(1987), pp. 247–258. The history of Navier’s Invalides suspension bridge over the Seine is reviewed in Eda Kranakis, ‘The Affair of the Invalides Bridge,’ Jaarboek voor de Geschiedenis van Bedrijf en Techniek 4(1987), pp. 106— 130.Google Scholar
  24. 19.
    Claude-L.-M.-H. Navier to Sylvestre F. Lacroix, 9 October 1823, Lacroix MSS 2396, Bibliothèque de l’Institut de France. Google Scholar
  25. 20.
    Navier discussed these techniques in his Mémoire sur les Ponts Suspendus, 2nd ed. p. 11.Google Scholar
  26. 21.
    This analysis of Kelvin’s career is based on Smith’s and Wise’s comprehensive biography and on two additional articles: M. Norton Wise and Crosbie Smith, ‘Measurement, Work and Industry in Lord Kelvin’s Britain’, Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 17(l)(1986), pp. 147–173; and M. Norton Wise, ‘Mediating Machines’, Science in Context 2(1)(1988), pp. 77–113. Specific citations will be given only for direct quotations.Google Scholar
  27. 22.
    Thomson’s links with Walter Crum were particularly close since he also married Crum’s daughter, Margaret, in 1852.Google Scholar
  28. 23.
    To understand the establishment of the Glasgow chair of engineering as part of a broader transformation of engineering in Britain, see R.A. Buchanan, ‘The Rise of Scientific Engineering in Britain,’ British Journal for the History of Science 18(1985), pp. 218–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 24.
    An important source for understanding Rankine’s work is David F. Channell, ‘The Harmony of Theory and Practice: The Engineering Science of W.J.M. Rankine’, Technology and Culture 23(1982), pp. 39–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 25.
    Quoted from Smith and Wise, p. 283.Google Scholar
  31. 26.
    Ibid., p. 284.Google Scholar
  32. 27.
    These are Thomson’s own words, quoted from Smith and Wise, ‘Measurement, Work, and Industry in Lord Kelvin’s Britain’, p. 150.Google Scholar
  33. 28.
    Smith and Wise, Energy and Empire, p. 491.Google Scholar
  34. 29.
    Ibid., p. 191.Google Scholar
  35. 30.
    Quoted from Smith and Wise, Energy and Empire, pp. 454–455.Google Scholar
  36. 31.
    Thomson saw technological enterprise as the primary spur to the development of precision measurement. With respect to electrical measurements, for example, he remarked that “resistance coils and ohms, and standard condensers and microfarads had been for ten years familiar to the electricians of the submarine-cable factories and testing stations, before anything that could be called electric measurement had come to be regularly practised in almost any of the scientific laboratories of the world.” Quoted from Smith and Wise, Energy and Empire, p. 455.Google Scholar
  37. 32.
    Smith and Wise, ‘Work, Industry and Measurement in Lord Kelvin’s Britain,’ p. 167.Google Scholar
  38. 33.
    Smith and Wise, Energy and Empire, p. 130.Google Scholar
  39. 34.
    The idea occurred to Thomson during a period in which his brother James was writing to him about methods for analyzing the efficiency and “mechanical effect” (i.e. work) of steam engines and water wheels. Significantly, William Thomson used the same term, “mechanical effect”, in his analysis of the conducting spheres. It was not a widely used term. James Thomson took it up from Lewis Gordon, who had proposed it as a translation of the German, mechanische Wirkung. Google Scholar
  40. 35.
    This point is further explained in Smith and Wise, ‘Work, Measurement, and Industry in Lord Kelvin’s Britain,’ pp. 158–159, 167–169.Google Scholar
  41. 36.
    The analysis of Bjerknes’s career is drawn from Friedman’s study, Appropriating the Weather, and from Robert Marc Friedman, ‘Constituting the Polar Front, 1919–1920’, Isis, 73(268)(September, 1982), pp. 343–363. Specific citations will only be given for direct quotations.Google Scholar
  42. 37.
    Quoted from Friedman, Appropriating the Weather, p. 145.Google Scholar
  43. 38.
  44. 39.
    Bjerknes’s need for data was one of the major factors that initially led him toward greater involvement in practical meteorology.Google Scholar
  45. 40.
    The nature of the client network surrounding meteorology certainly supports such an hypothesis.Google Scholar
  46. 41.
    It must be emphasized that many empirical studies, even carried out within the context of these models, provide evidence for a broader range of transfers between the domains of science and technology.Google Scholar
  47. 42.
    By research ideologies, I mean normative ideas about how research ought to be done, what methods should be used, and what relationships should exist among research methods. Research is here taken to include the full range of exploratory activities that scientists and technologists engage in: theorizing, inventing, designing, experimenting, tinkering, etc. Research ideologies offer guidance in answering questions such as the following: is it best to derive theories from empirical practice, or vice versa? How should theory and experiment be linked in a research program? How should new technological artifacts be designed — in relation to empirical experience or to formal theories?Google Scholar
  48. 43.
    It should be noted that in the case of dual careers, like Navier’s or Thomson’s, the transfer of knowledge, practices, and values between the worlds of science and technology may result in not just one but two (interrelated) hybrid repertoires. For example, Thomson’s scientific and technological repertoires were not precisely identical, but because each shaped the other, they did come to share many features. Due to space limitations, I did not examine this phenomenon in the examples. Thus, in the case of Navier, I examined only his engineering repertoire, while in the case of Thomson, I examined only his scientific repertoire.Google Scholar
  49. 44.
    The existing repertoire may be either the individual’s own, or it may be understood as a shared repertoire, comprising knowledge, practices, and values common within a discipline or field of expertise at a particular time and place.Google Scholar
  50. 45.
    This is not to suggest, however, that a hybrid repertoire would be a spur to creativity in all contexts or situations.Google Scholar
  51. 46.
    In a sense, the professionalization of engineering can be seen as part of this process. Moving the locus of technological training from the workplace to the university and changing it from an apprenticeship into a formal education complete with books, lectures, and instruction in experimental methods necessarily implies a broad transformation of the technologist’s repertoire of practice.Google Scholar
  52. 47.
    In fact, as I have shown in another article, this was indeed the case. See ′social Determinants of Engineering Practice,’ op. cit., Note 15.Google Scholar
  53. 48.
    Two other notable studies that particularly bear upon the question of the relationship between science and technology are Stuart Blume, Insight and Industry: On the Dynamics of Technological Change in Medicine (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1992); and George Wise, Willis R. Whitney, General Electric, and the Origins of U. S. Industrial Research (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eda Krankis
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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