Chapter

Financing the Aura

in Galileo's Instruments of Credit

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780226045610
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226045634 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226045634.003.0002
Financing the Aura

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Few scientists have been enshrouded by an aura of greatness, genius, and perhaps even sacredness. This chapter takes the effects of the aura very seriously and looks at its genealogy from a distinctly mundane point of view. It does not connect the aura to a mythical evocation of the wholeness of a long-gone era but treats it as the mappable effect of negotiations carried out over distance and the delays produced by such a distance—negotiations in which each party has partial information about the other's position, claims, resources, and authority. The aura of scientific authority has been treated as the result of an investment process—lending of one's credit to a practitioner as a result both of the things one might know and of those one might not know about that person or his/her claims. The aura, therefore, is not just a result, but a resource for producing that work in the first place, as well as for securing its acceptance from patrons and fellow-practitioners.

Keywords: aura; scientists; scientific knowledge; Network models

Chapter.  25420 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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