fbpx STS Circle: Janet Vertesi on “Shaping Science: Organizations, Cultures, and Decision-Making on NASA’s Teams” | Harvard Kennedy School
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Date and Location

September 21, 2020
12:15 PM - 1:30 PM



​How does the way we organize our
technoscientific collaborations impact our results?  I present a
comparative ethnographic study of work on two of NASA’s famous robotic
spacecraft mission teams. While the robots appear to explore autonomously on
the frontiers of space, a large, distributed team of scientists and engineers
on Earth makes the decisions about what they should do and how they accomplish
their science. As spacecraft team members negotiate for robotic time and
resources, this reveals the role that sociotechnical organizations play in
understanding how decisions are made and which data are acquired, with
implications for scientific biographies and discoveries. I therefore suggest
new ways to enroll the sociology of contemporary organizations in our
continuing analysis of the coproduction of science and social order.

Speakers and Presenters

​Janet Vertesi


Additional Organizers

​Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences