When scientists explore new areas language is vivid, sparkling, different. Take Laboratory Life. It lures historians and philosophers of science into a new direction, but above all joyfully plays with ‘order’ and ‘disorder’, with ‘scientist’ and ‘observer.’ As much as it is science it is art: history of science can be a novel of life. But then fields grow older, the analytics get in and all prose and poetry is rigorously slashed until nothing but a formal skeleton remains. The recently published Handbook of Science and Technology Studies is such a book. Science studies has matured. Where enchanted children drew sketchy impression of that magnificent world now grumpy old publish-or-perishers formalize and classify a depressing world in endless reiteration. I protest.
It is time for a romantic turn in history and philosophy of science. Science is tantalizing, impossibly incomprehensible and beautiful. Let us no longer formalize what cannot be formalized or dissect what should be regarded in its entirety. Let us seek to express science and scientists. Let us not understand, but experience.