Collecting Experiments : Making Big Data Biology

Databases have revolutionized nearly every aspect of our lives. Information of all sorts is being collected on a massive scale, from Google to Facebook and well beyond. But as the amount of information in databases explodes, we are forced to reassess our ideas about what knowledge is, how it is prod...

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Main Author: Strasser, Bruno J.
Format: eBook
Language:English
Published: New York University of Chicago Press 2019, ©2019
Subjects:
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Collection: DeGruyter MPG Collection - Collection details see MPG.ReNa
Summary:Databases have revolutionized nearly every aspect of our lives. Information of all sorts is being collected on a massive scale, from Google to Facebook and well beyond. But as the amount of information in databases explodes, we are forced to reassess our ideas about what knowledge is, how it is produced, to whom it belongs, and who can be credited for producing it. Every scientist working today draws on databases to produce scientific knowledge. Databases have become more common than microscopes, voltmeters, and test tubes, and the increasing amount of data has led to major changes in research practices and profound reflections on the proper professional roles of data producers, collectors, curators, and analysts. Collecting Experiments traces the development and use of data collections, especially in the experimental life sciences, from the early twentieth century to the present. It shows that the current revolution is best understood as the coming together of two older ways of knowing—collecting and experimenting, the museum and the laboratory. Ultimately, Bruno J. Strasser argues that by serving as knowledge repositories, as well as indispensable tools for producing new knowledge, these databases function as digital museums for the twenty-first century.
"Amidst all the hype surrounding Big Data and the life sciences, Bruno Strasser uncovers the deep continuities of collecting and comparing that link the latest data banks to venerable natural history museums. This bold book rethinks the relationship between field, laboratory, and archive, with important implications for the ethos of open publication in science." — Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science "The long-contested line between experimental life sciences and those that collect, compare, and classify is once more unsettled. It is now accepted that comparative sciences are open to experiment and always have been. And Bruno Strasser now argues that the celebrated achievements of experimental biology have similarly depended on practices of collecting and curating. And not just in our own new world of digital databases, but historically: from when experimenters first thought to make collecting forever obsolete. Strasser supports his bold revision with case studies of a broad range of sciences, from taxonomy to serology, experimental and then molecular biology, and bio-informatics. In its historical depth and breadth this is a benchmark book; and for all who want to know how life sciences really work, it's a must read." — Robert E. Kohler, University of Pennsylvania "You might think that museums are for collecting and laboratories for experimenting. Bruno J. Strasser tracks the creation of a hybrid culture—a 'way of knowing' that was comparative and experimental at the same time. Molecular biologists used the protein sequences of very various species to crack the genetic code. From bacteria to blood and protein to DNA, this engaging book restores collecting to the experimentalist tradition and gives 'big data' biology the history it needs." — Nick Hopwood, author of Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud "Collecting Experiments is an exciting and welcome addition to the
Item Description:10.7208/9780226635187
Physical Description:392 Seiten
ISBN:978-0-226-63518-7