Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
The Uses of Experiment

The Uses of Experiment
Studies in the Natural Sciences

$59.99 (C)

  • Date Published: June 1989
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521337687

$ 59.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Experiment is widely regarded as the most distinctive feature of natural science and essential to the way scientists find out about the world. Yet there has been little study of the way scientists actually make and use experiments. The Uses of Experiment fills this gap in our knowledge about how science is practised. Presenting 14 original case studies of important and often famous experiments, the book asks the questions: What tools do experimenters use? How do scientists argue from experiments? What happens when an experiment is challenged? How do scientists check that their experiments are working? Are there differences between experiments in the physical sciences and technology? Leading scholars in the fields of history, sociology and philosophy of science consider topics such as the interaction of experiment; instruments and theory; accuracy and reliability as hallmarks of experiment in science and technology; realising new phenomena; the believability of experiments and the sort of knowledge they produce; and the wider contexts on which experimentalists draw to develop and win support for their work. Drawing on examples as diverse as Galilean mechanics, Victorian experiments on electricity, experiments on cloud formation, and testing of nuclear missiles, a new view of experiment emerges. This view emphasises that experiments always involve choice, tactics and strategy in persuading audiences that Nature resembles the picture experimenters create.

    Reviews & endorsements

    "...fine book....readers of The Quarterly Review of Biology are advised to read the book...for both instruction and pleasure." Jane Oppenheimer, The Quarterly Review of Biology

    " The Uses of Experiment is a model for publishing proceedings." Philosophy of Science

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 1989
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521337687
    • length: 500 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 33 mm
    • weight: 0.805kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Instruments in Experiments:
    1. Scientific instruments: models of brass and aids to discovery
    2. Glass works: Newton's prisms and the uses of experiment
    3. A viol of water or a wedge of glass
    Part II. Experiment and Argument:
    4. Galileo's experimental discourse
    5. Fresnel, Poisson and the white spot: the role of successful predictions in the acceptance of scientific theories
    6. The rhetoric of experiment
    Part III. Representing and Realising:
    7. 'Magnetic curves' and the magnetic field: experimentation and representation in the history of a theory
    8. Artificial clouds, real particles
    9. Living in the material world
    10. Justification and experimentation
    Part IV. The Constituency of Experiment:
    11. Extraordinary experiment: electricity and the creation of life in Victorian England
    12. Why did Britain join CERN?
    Part V. Hallmarks of Experiment:
    13. From Kwajalein to Armageddon? Testing and the social construction of missile accuracy
    14. The epistemology of experiment
    Select bibliography
    Name index
    Subject index.

  • Editors

    David Gooding

    Trevor Pinch

    Simon Schaffer

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.