- Chihwei Yeh
- Science Studies School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
- Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
- +44 (0) 131 651 4274
- Research Interests
- Discourse & rhetoric studies, Representation of science, Social relations of curiosity-driven research, Historical and political construction of big physics
Particle physics in public: Legitimising curiosity-driven research after the Higgs boson
The popularised storyline of the discovery of the Higgs boson flags a coherent and collaborative human achievement of understanding one more step of the origin of the universe. Despite the fact that its highly abstract and complex knowledge can hardly be understood by people other than particle physicists, it is much celebrated in society and worldwidely. It can even be a selling point for future particle physics research.
However, I keep wondering how and why it can be so sucessful. Many policy studies have shown, the value of basic research is very much contested nowadays: science budgets are tight because of the global economic recession and financial crisis; and there are numerous human and environmental issues in need of governance. Particle physics (PP) and high-energy-physics (HEP), as a big science in need of huge amount of money, resource, human power and collaboration; PP and HEP, as 'basic research' much less predictable and is not strategy or application-oriented, how can it find its place and mobilise supports in contemporary science policy? And why does the policy side trust and agree in its research?
Some may argue that PP/HEP always gets its fame. But even the fame itself doesn't come from nowhere. It needs to be stimulated and sustained. Especially it has been seventy years after the Manhatten project in the World War Two, and in the U.S. and Russia, the governments stop being so supportive towards HEP after the cold war. Then what are the reasons that keep European PP's reputation sound and alive? How are different interests and expectations from different actors, such as scientists, policy actors and knowledge and technology transfer officers, coordinated and negotiated for the future of PP?
I hope that this research can facilitate the understanding of the interaction between the less-predictable, knowledge-oriented science and the policy environment.
2014 Technologies Incubation Scholarship, Taiwan Government (2014-17)
MSc by research Science and Technology Studies, University of Edinburgh (2014)
BA Sociology & Business Administration, National Taiwan University (2010)
Research Project Manager, National Taiwan University College of Medicine (2010-13)
Tutor, 2014-15 Sociology 1b
Postgraduate seminar organiser, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (2014-15)
SSU50 anniversary committee member (2016)
PG representative, Equality & diversity committee, School of Social and Political Science (2015-2017)
PhD representative, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (2016-17)
Master dissertation (completed in 2014)-
Embodied experience: visual representations for communicating the discovery of the Higgs boson
The Past, Present and Future of the Edinburgh School (in Chinese)
Embodied and sensational: Constructing the Higgs boson in science communication. STSxScience Communication Workshop, University of Vienna, 25-26 May 2017
Bonding with the immediate public: Talking to particle physicists. Science in Public Annual Conference, University of Sheffield, 10-12 July 2017
Best poster, STIS PhD Day (twice: 2015, 2016)
Best poster, SSU50 Practising the Reflexivity Workshop (2016)