The Epistemology of the
Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

The epistemic dynamics of model development at the LHC: an empirical investigation

The project investigates the epistemic practices of the LHC physicists and aims at tracking possible modifications in the course of the LHC's operation as new experimental results come out. At the same time, the project investigates the mutual impact of physical and epistemological reflections on the patterns of argumentation. It focuses on the present core problem of particle physics: the mechanism of mass generation. The epistemic practices to be investigated include, how experimental findings are stated and certified, how new theoretical proposals are made and validated by the scientific community, and how experimental and theoretical research interact. The investigation focuses on the epistemological acceptance criteria that are explicitly or implicitly applied by the scientists at LHC and on their interrelation with the sociological factors that were studied at the preceding experiment LEP. To the best of our knowledge, the present study is the first to monitor in real time the epistemological dynamics of a large experiment.


Principal Investigators:
Peter Mättig
Friedrich Steinle

Principal Collaborator:
Michael Stöltzner
Ariana Borelli