- Tapa dura: 336 páginas
- Editor: OUP Oxford; Edición: New (28 de julio de 2011)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0199567921
- ISBN-13: 978-0199567928
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- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº704.531 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
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Collisions and Collaboration: The Organization of Learning in the ATLAS Experiment at the LHC (Inglés) Tapa dura – 28 jul 2011
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Descripción del producto
This is a masterful piece of research that will make an enduring contribution to our knowledge of how the organization of science develops at the frontier of knowledge. Boisot and his many colleagues have crafted an excellent volume that convincingly explains why management theorists may have more to learn about scientific organization from physicists than vice versa. Henry Chesbrough, Professor at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology This book has vast implications far beyond CERN, The Large Hadron Collider, and the Atlas project. Based on the concept of "Information Space", 3000 scientists and others face the irreducible unknown. Standard planning and optimization fail. Emergence and generativity succeed. This book is a prolegomenon for governments and an emergent set of interwoven global civilizations. Stuart Kauffman, MacArthur Fellow FRSC, Santa Fe Institute, University of Vermont, and author of At Home in the Universe, Investigations, and others
Reseña del editor
After twenty-five years of preparation, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva, is finally running its intensive scientific experiments into high-energy particle physics. These experiments, which have so captured the public's imagination, take the world of physics to a new energy level, the terascale, at which elementary particles are accelerated to one millionth of a percent of the speed of light and made to smash into each other with a combined energy of around fourteen trillion electron-volts. What new world opens up at the terascale? No one really knows, but the confident expectation is that radically new phenomena will come into view.
The kind of 'big science' being pursued at CERN, however, is becoming ever more uncertain and costly. Do the anticipated benefits justify the efforts and the costs? This book aims to give a broad organizational and strategic understanding of the nature of 'big science' by analyzing one of the major experiments that uses the Large Hadron Collider, the ATLAS Collaboration. It examines such issues as: the flow of 'interlaced' knowledge between specialist teams; the intra- and inter-organizational dynamics of 'big science'; the new knowledge capital being created for the workings of the experiment by individual researchers, suppliers, and e-science and ICTs; the leadership implications of a collaboration of nearly three thousand members; and the benefits for the wider societal setting.
This book aims to examine how, in the face of high levels of uncertainty and risk, ambitious scientific aims can be achieved by complex organizational networks characterized by cultural diversity, informality, and trust - and where 'big science' can head next.
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More than that, you'll see how the process worked in helping achieve the one of greatest scientific discoveries in history.
To calibrate this review: I’m not among those believers, and my interest was more prosaic, being in accelerators per se. I turned to this book because as I write Japan is a candidate for a large international accelerator project; if it wins, the project would be sited not far from where I live. I thought the book might help me prepare for an international conference about the collider being held soon in my hometown, and especially to help me learn more about how such projects are run and the hurdles they face. The book focuses on the ATLAS detector system, one of four experimental systems at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. That system alone entails a collaboration involving around 3,000 scientists in 38 countries.
I found some of what I was looking for in the first 10% of the book, with other tidbits scattered throughout the remaining portion. But from Chapter Two onward the facts and anecdotes of interest were embedded in a theory about something the authors call “I-Space.” This isn’t a theory about solipsism, but is something more like a solecism: borrowing the prestige of “information theory” while thoroughly making a hash of it. It's put forward using a befuddled approach all too common in management literature attempting to borrow from science: First the authors first build their science cred, in this case by citing various classic papers written by Zurek, Bennett or Landauer about information theory, i.e. the theory developed by Claude Shannon, whose 1948 paper is also cited. Next they throw in a chestnut or two of false wisdom, e.g. “In physics, entropy is a measure of disorder” (@35n8), and the claim that the Zurek, etc. papers “establish the equivalence between data and energy” (@30). Then throughout the rest of the book they throughly distort the scientific theory they invoked in the first place. In this case that includes talking about “information” as something that has meaning — not at all the way in which Shannon used the word, as he took some pains to mention his paper cited in the book.
This sort of pretentious misch-masch is pretty common and might have been easy to overlook if it had been confined to one chapter. But unfortunately the topic of the book turns out to be the nature of I-Space as illustrated by the ATLAS project, rather than that project in its own right. There’s plenty of discussion about the collaboration, of course, but it’s always with reference to what it teaches us about I-Space and and something the authors call “social learning cycles” (SLCs), the sort of reification that will make readers of Harvard Business Review feel right at home. So will the generous helping of 2x2 matrices, such as Perrow’s typology of suppliers; cites to strategy gurus like Michael Porter and Henry Mintzberg; quantitative explanations of “strategic option theory;” and the bestowal of extra profundity onto phrases like “distributed learning process” and “intrinsic project volatility” by putting them in italics.
Even from a management point of view, much of this is old wine in new bottles. The authors of Chapter 3 describe their “surprise” that the ATLAS team members didn’t have much use for conventional principles of management one of the authors had presented to them in three workshops. Rather, “creating the right context for highly motivated and competent people and letting them get on with it” may have better results than top-down specification and control (@75). Nice, but Mintzberg has been making this point for decades now, and this is also familiar from the famous B-school case of Honda’s US success with lightweight motorcycles during the 1970s. The chapters on procurement, which describe such technology development techniques as running several projects in parallel and seeing which one succeeds first or best, are pretty much what a company like Applied Materials was doing when I joined them 20 years ago. Can't knock the ATLAS team for using such techniques, but the book veers into fiction when it treats these practices as something novel or peculiar to this type of collaboration. Elsewhere we’re given the revelation that “In effect, the ATLAS detector, the primary focus of the collaboration’s concerns and efforts, constitutes the physical hub of a vast heterogenous network engaged in globally-distributed data-processing activities and pursuing ambitious scientific objectives” (@202). Who knew?
If you enjoy reading business books, and especially ones that twine together business and themes from physics, then very possibly you’ll enjoy this book. Just be aware that it’s not written in the easy-reading style of the typical business bestseller -- it’s published by Oxford, after all -- though that might also make it seem all the more important. If you’ve already read Mintzberg, and especially if you've worked at a technology-intensive manufacturing company, there's not much new you'll get from it aside from the physics ambience. If you’re mainly interested in particle physics, spend at most an hour or two dipping into the book at your institution’s library, and save your money.