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The SENSE of Nuclear Physics: New Frontiers, Media, and Collaborations

  • J. Scott Brennen (a1)

This article describes the efforts of one fifty-year-old nuclear physics research center to stay relevant as the boundaries of nuclear physics have expanded and distributed collaborations have become increasingly common. In adapting to these shifts, SENSE, a university-based institute in the United States, has seen notable changes in power relations, forms of legitimation, and social structures. This article recognizes and investigates these changes through an interpretative investigation of four common media objects incorporated into research practice at the institute: collaboration wikis, telephones, computer simulations, and government reports. In doing so, this article adopts an approach from media studies through which hard-to-see changes in social and cultural life can be investigated by observing media objects in research practice. Ultimately, this article tells the story of a research organization and an entire discipline working to adapt to a rapidly changing scientific landscape.

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Science in Context
  • ISSN: 0269-8897
  • EISSN: 1474-0664
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