Higher and colder: The success and failure of boundaries in high altitude and Antarctic research stations

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    Abstract

    This article offers a series of case studies of field stations and field laboratories based at high altitudes in the Alps, Himalaya and in Antarctica, that have been used by Western scientists (largely physiologists and physicists) from circa 1820 to present. It rejects the common frame for work on such spaces that polarizes a set of generalizations about practices undertaken in ‘the field’ versus ‘the laboratory’. Field sites are revealed as places that can be used to highlight common and crucial features of modern experimental science that are exposed by, but not uniquely the properties of, field work. This includes heterogeneity of population and practice; diverse after-lives; the manner in which spaces of science construct individual and group expertise; and the extensive support and funding structures needed for modern scientific work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)809-832
    JournalSocial Studies of Science
    Volume46
    Issue number6
    Early online date21 Mar 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

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