2014年7月8日 星期二

"Science and Serendipity" :The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity;Serendipities: Language and Lunacy

Published on Jul 1, 2014
"Science and Serendipity" short video explores the role of happenstance and other factors contributing to accidental discoveries. With: Karin D. Knorr Cetina, Otto Borchert Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, Sociology and of the Social Sciences in the College; Nancy J. Cox, Ph.D., Professor and Section Chief, Section of Genetic Medicine, Department of Medicine; Professor, Department of Human Genetics; Ron Lipton, Senior Scientist, Fermilab; Peter Littlewood: Director, Argonne National Laboratory; Matt Tirrell, Professor and Founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering; and Willard Zangwill, Professor Emeritus, Chicago Booth.

The video first aired on May 21, 2014 as part of the ninth in a Series of Joint Speaker events for University Faculty and Argonne and Fermilab Scientists, Researchers and Engineers which took place at the Chicago Innovation Exchange.


發表會的對談中,牟中原教授也特別和聽眾分享一個英文單字,Serendipity,意外發現珍奇事物的本領。這個後起的新字常被科學界用來描述這種靈機一動,妙不可言的發現。他還提到義大利記號學大師艾可曾以Serendipities 為題,寫了一本語言和文學研究的專書。真是一場豐富和出乎意料的發表會,除了意外地認識一個英文單字和多知道一本書,也發現科學和人文之間的會通之處。

Learn from yesterday,live for today,hope for tomorrow.---這正是我們何以閱讀。
Merton 是科學史大家,他的相關論文在北京商務等都已有漢譯。這是他生前最後一棒2006.


The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity:
A Study in Sociological Semantics and the Sociology of Science
Robert K. Merton & Elinor Barber
With an introduction by James L. Shulman

Paperback | 2006 | $37.5 / £26.95 | ISBN: 9780691126302
352 pp. | 6 x 9 | 1 halftone. 2 tables.
Google full text of this book:
From the names of cruise lines and bookstores to an Australian ranch and a nudist camp outside of Atlanta, the wordserendipity--that happy blend of wisdom and luck by which something is discovered not quite by accident--is today ubiquitous. This book traces the word's eventful history from its 1754 coinage into the twentieth century--chronicling along the way much of what we now call the natural and social sciences.
The book charts where the term went, with whom it resided, and how it fared. We cross oceans and academic specialties and meet those people, both famous and now obscure, who have used and abused serendipity. We encounter a linguistic sage, walk down the illustrious halls of the Harvard Medical School, attend the (serendipitous) birth of penicillin, and meet someone who "manages serendipity" for the U.S. Navy.
The story of serendipity is fascinating; that of The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity, equally so. Written in the 1950s by already-eminent sociologist Robert Merton and Elinor Barber, the book--though occasionally and most tantalizingly cited--was intentionally never published. This is all the more curious because it so remarkably anticipated subsequent battles over research and funding--many of which centered on the role of serendipity in science. Finally, shortly after his ninety-first birthday, following Barber's death and preceding his own by but a little, Merton agreed to expand and publish this major work.
Beautifully written, the book is permeated by the prodigious intellectual curiosity and generosity that characterized Merton's influential On the Shoulders of Giants. Absolutely entertaining as the history of a word, the book is also tremendously important to all who value the miracle of intellectual discovery. It represents Merton's lifelong protest against that rhetoric of science that defines discovery as anything other than a messy blend of inspiration, perspiration, error, and happy chance--anything other than serendipity.
"And so serendipity began its life--a saga of misunderstandings, neglect, resurrection, distortion, celebration and controversy, all of which is chronicled with heroic enterprise and humble wit in The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity.... The history remains intact, and the intellectual trajectory outlines by Merton has, if anything, continued with even greater force."--Edward Rothstein, New York Times
"An intellectual text, both a pleasure to read and a genuine contribution to scholarship."--Andrew Scull, Times Literary Supplement
"A fascinating text that captivates the reader from the start. . . . In the course of following the evolution of the word serendipity, Merton and Barber provide many interesting insights into how new knowledge is produced, not only in the sciences but also in the humanities."--Cristina Gonzalez, Science
"A humane, learned and very wise book. It was finished in 1958 and lay in Merton's files until just a few years ago. . . . It is a pity that we had to wait so long for it, since The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity is the great man's greatest achievement."--Steve Shapin, American Scientist
"The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity is a vivid study in how words reflect their times and offers an extra delight: Merton's new afterword tracing the journey of the word since he first wrote about it. . . . Merton was a sociologist in the same way Shakespeare could be called a theater person."--Jay Tolson, U.S. News and World Report
Table of Contents:
Preface by Robert K. Merton ix
Publisher's Note xi
Introduction by James L. Shulman xiii
Chapter 1: The Origins of Serendipity 1
Chapter 2: Early Diffusion of Serendipity 22
Chapter 3: Accidental Discovery in Science: Victorian Opinion 41
Chapter 4: Stock Responses to Serendipity 61
Chapter 5: The Qualities of Serendipity 88
Chapter 6: Dictionaries and "Serendipity" 104
Chapter 7: The Social History of Serendipity 123
Chapter 8: Moral Implications of Serendipity 149
Chapter 9: The Diverse Significance of Serendipity in Science 158
Chapter 10 Serendipity as Ideology and Politics of Science 199
A Note on Serendipity as a Political Metaphor 219
A Note on Serendipity in the Humanities 223
Afterword: Autobiographical Reflections on The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity by Robert K. Merton 230
Select References 299
Name Index 303
General Index 309
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by James L. Shulman:
Subject Areas:

Serendipities: Language and Lunacy.Serendipities is a careful unraveling of the fabulous and the false, a brilliant⋯⋯ 更多

Book Description

November 1, 1999  0156007517  978-0156007511
Serendipities is a careful unraveling of the fabulous and the false, a brilliant exposition of how unanticipated truths often spring from false ideas. From Leibniz's belief that the I Ching illustrated the principles of calculus to Marco Polo's mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Umberto Eco offers a dazzling tour of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange to make sense of the world. Uncovering layers of mistakes that have shaped human history, Eco offers with wit and clarity such instances as Columbus's voyage to the New World, the fictions that grew around the Rosicrucians and Knights Templar, and the linguistic endeavors to recreate the language of Babel, to show how serendipities can evolve out of mistakes. With erudition, anecdotes, and scholarly rigor, this new collection of essays is sure to entertain and enlighten any reader with a passion for the curious history of languages and ideas.