Journal article

Contested boundaries: The string theory debates and ideologies of science

S Ritson, K Camilleri

Perspectives on Science | Published : 2015


Over the last three decades, physicists have engaged in, sometimes heated, debates about relative merits and prospects of string theory as a viable research program and even about its status as a science. The aim of this paper is to provide a deeper understanding of this controversy as a particular form of boundary discourse. Drawing on the sociological work of Thomas Gieryn and Lawrence Prelli, we bring to light the way in which protagonists appeal to, and rhetorically construct, different views about the scientific method and the scientific ethos, in an effort to legitimize or delegitimize string theory.

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