The sociology of big science | Public Lecture by Ulrike Felt | 15 July

"The sociology of big science"
Public Lecture by Prof. Ulrike Felt

Tuesday 15 July 2014 - 7.30 p.m.
Globe of Science and Innovation

Lecture in English, translated in French.
Entrance free. Limited number of seats.
Reservation essential: +41 22 767 76 76 or

What science for what kind of society? Reflecting the development of big science

Without any doubt, CERN can be described as being among the most ambitious scientific enterprises ever undertaken. For 60 years, the Member States have not only invested considerable financial means into this institution, but have also supported the creation of a highly visionary research programme. And this has led to a change in the way science is done, as captured by the idea of "big science".

Yet this naturally also raises a number of quite fundamental questions: How did the meaning of "doing science" change? What justifies societal engagement with and support for such a cost-intensive long-term scientific undertaking? And finally, in what ways does (and did) this research enterprise contribute to the development of contemporary societies?

By focusing on some key examples, the talk will thus explore how the ways of doing research and how scientific and societal relations have undergone change over the history of CERN. This will allow an understanding of the many ways in which the development of research and contemporary societies are intertwined.

Ulrike Felt

Ulrike Felt is Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Head of the STS Department and Vice-Dean for Research of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Vienna. She holds a PhD in Physics/Mathematics and a habilitation in Sociology of Science/Science and Technology Studies. Her research interests gravitate around issues of governance, democracy and public participation in technoscience, changing research cultures, and the role of time in science and society issues. She has published widely in these fields. Her work is often comparative between national contexts and between technological or scientific fields (especially life sciences, biomedicine and nanotechnologies). She has been an invited professor at numerous universities and has been involved in policy advice to the European Commission as well as to national bodies. From July 2002 to June 2007 she was editor-in-chief of the international peer-reviewed journal Science, Technology, & Human Values.