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Proceedings Paper

Scientific techniques and learning: laboratory "signatures" and the practice of oceanography
Author(s): Chandra Mukerji
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Paper Abstract

We tend to think of techniques as practical means for getting things done in the world, moving objects from here to there, looking more deeply into some sample of tissue, or measuring the salinity of water samples. However, I want to argue in this chapter that techniques are also and importantly means for projecting meaning into the world by acting upon it. When a scientist studies a sample of seawater for chemical components, water in the area where the sample was collected is given qualities that it did not have before. It gains a scientific identity based upon quantitative and qualitative measures that come from science. The chemicals were there already, but the meaning of the chemicals was not. In the acts of gathering and measuring, nature is laden with the culture of science.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 1992
PDF: 28 pages
Proc. SPIE 10309, Invisible Connections: Instruments, Institutions, and Science, 1030909 (1 June 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.2283714
Show Author Affiliations
Chandra Mukerji, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10309:
Invisible Connections: Instruments, Institutions, and Science
Robert Bud; Susan E. Cozzens, Editor(s)

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