University Briefs

The scientific jury may still be out on cold fusion, but some social scientists have already reached the verdict that the spectacle has been good for science. Just as a political scandal can invigorate politics by showing the public how it works, the cold fusion story has benefited science by exposing its hidden side, according to a panel of scientists, philosophers, and sociologists who met last month at the University of California, San Diego. "We saw science in the making. We learned a lot ab

The Scientist Staff
Jun 25, 1989
The scientific jury may still be out on cold fusion, but some social scientists have already reached the verdict that the spectacle has been good for science. Just as a political scandal can invigorate politics by showing the public how it works, the cold fusion story has benefited science by exposing its hidden side, according to a panel of scientists, philosophers, and sociologists who met last month at the University of California, San Diego. "We saw science in the making. We learned a lot about the politics of science-and big bucks," said Bruno Latour, a UCSD sociologist and anthropologist. Even if the work of Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann turns out to be a bust, other panel members said, the public has learned something about fusion, and discovered that scientists are just as political, competitive, and profit-driven as other people.

In a surprising show of support for Pons and Fleischmann,...

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