Cold Atoms – Hot Research: High Risks, High Rewards in Five Different Authority Structures

Organizational Transformation and Scientific Change: The Impact of Institutional Restructuring on Universities and Intellectual Innovation

ISBN: 978-1-78350-684-2, eISBN: 978-1-78350-683-5

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 26 July 2014

Abstract

Bose-Einstein condensation is a scientific innovation in experimental physics whose realisation required considerable time and resources. Its diffusion varied considerably between and within five countries that were comparatively studied. Differences between countries can be explained by the variation in the national communities’ absorptive capacities, while within-country differences are due to the impact of authority relations on researchers’ opportunities to build protected space for their change of research practices. Beginning experimental research on Bose-Einstein condensation required simultaneous access to the university infrastructure for research and to grants. The former is largely limited to professors, while the latter made researchers vulnerable to the majority opinion and decision practices of their national scientific community.

Keywords

Citation

Laudel, G., Lettkemann, E., Ramuz, R., Wedlin, L. and Woolley, R. (2014), "Cold Atoms – Hot Research: High Risks, High Rewards in Five Different Authority Structures", Organizational Transformation and Scientific Change: The Impact of Institutional Restructuring on Universities and Intellectual Innovation (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 42), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 203-234. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20140000042007

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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