The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. The entire budget of all the institutes is approximately 2. Insufficient climate protection Researchers assess the German climate package and provide input for making necessary adjustments. Early indications A new eye scan provides detailed information on the condition of the retinal tissue and thus detects eye diseases sooner.
Hot Jupiters For the first time, reseachers detected the chemical element potassium at high resolution in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. PH Measurement. Conductivity Measurement. Multiparameter Measurement. Determination of the Viscosity. Address: Rupert-Mayer-Str. Popular Categories. You are currently visiting the english store of Analytics-Shop. Simply select the store below that is most appropriate to your location. Relevant fictions have also appeared in novels of Anderson, Asimov, Bear and Stephenson [ 13 ]. Michael Crichton describes, in possibly his most famous novel, 'Prey', a 'grey goo' scenario involving the loss of control over nano-technologically manufactured micro robots, 'nanobots' [ 14 ].
Such discourses have crucially contributed to the demand for a moratorium on the technological development and production of nano-materials made by civil society organizations like for example the Canadian ETC-group [ 15 ]. Furthermore, a moratorium on the development of nano-materials was proposed to national government leaders at the world summit for sustainable development in Johannesburg [ 16 ]. In addition, the manifesto of Bill Joy is occasionally interpreted as a call for a moratorium stressing the unforeseeable risks of nanotechnologies.
Joy makes comparison to the development of the atom bomb and pleads for deeper ethical reflection on the nanosciences and -technologies [ 3 ]. Beside these more future-oriented risk discourses, however, tangible health effects of particles at the nanometer scale have been detected by a variety of toxicological working groups [ 17 ].
So far, concrete findings regarding potential risks of nanosciences and -technologies focus on the health implications of particles at the nanometer scale. This field addresses those scientific disciplines, having methodological and textual experience in the investigation of the bio-reactivity of particles and materials for its analysis.
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In this context, toxicology as a scientific discipline plays a responsible role. Toxicology has traditionally examined the potential harmful effects of chemical or physical agents on biological systems. While nanosciences and -technologies do not yet form a coherent program, toxicology sees itself as contributing to the public discourse with technically clear and concise answers, broadly recognized in the media.
Early exponents in the toxicological research community are already claiming the emergence of nanotoxicology as a new discipline [ 18 ] and a new journal with the title 'Nanotoxicology' has been launched in by the Taylor and Francis group [ 19 ]. Before explaining the aim of this study, our hypothesis and what will be reported in this article, we will give a short explanation of our theoretical model: The formation of disciplinary identities can be analyzed using theories of the development and differentiation of scientific disciplines [ 20 ].
Toxicology as a scientific discipline understands itself through its orientation toward externally defined problems like for example the supply of practical guidelines for the adjustment of toxic chemicals. Therefore, the concept of 'Finalisierung — finalization' [ 21 ] plays an important role in the analysis of the construction of disciplinary identities.
The concept of 'finalization' focuses on the influence of internal and external factors and orientations within the development of science. Boehme et al. Van den Daele and Weingart base their theory on three variables influencing the differentiation of scientific disciplines: cognitive, institutional and political aspects. Cognitive aspects describe factors, which define science as an intellectual enterprise [ 20 ]. Furthermore, cognitive aspects specify the development of a discipline and consist of such things as internal structures and epistemic practices [ 23 ].
In contrast, institutional aspects focus on internal processes within scientific institutions, such as co-operation, communication and interpersonal relationships. Such processes determine science as a social operation system and they differentiate new research fields [ 24 ]. Political aspects are understood in terms of science-policy attitude and demand a 'product value orientation' from science. In this way, science is controlled by political interests and orientated toward the solution of specific, socially induced and politically defined problems like cancer- or environmental research [ 25 ].
Thus, in our study we will and use the term 'external aspects' instead of 'political aspects', considering beside of politically, also socially and economically relevant criteria. According to this account, disciplinary development takes place via different contexts: on the one hand, by cognitive and institutional aspects that are internal to science, on the other hand, by problem settings that are external to science [ 26 ]. However, we do not understand problem orientation in the sense of the direct intervention of society into the sciences.
Rather, we consider problem orientation as external requirements that disciplines perceive and accept in a system-specific way [ 27 ]. For toxicology the following constellation results: On the one hand, problem orientation and context sensitivity, particularly with respect to future nano-technologies, contribute to the fact that toxicology has a substantial role to play in cognitive, institutional and social respects. The nanosciences could profit from institutionalizing toxicology, whose research directly meets the social requirement of security, as an already finalized partial discipline within the new interdisciplinary field.
With the present close interconnection between the nano- sciences and society, this arrangement could allow toxicology to ascend from an auxiliary science into an increasingly constitutive position within the nanosciences [ 28 ]. In order to understand the development of scientific disciplines in light of the above mentioned aspects, theories that understand academic knowledge production as the collective achievement of a community of scientists in a particular research field will prove helpful.
According to Fleck, knowledge is never possible on its own, but only in the context of various presuppositions about it. Therefore, disciplines represent thought collectives whose style of thinking is shaped by their surrounding social, political and cultural context [ 30 ].
In periods of transition between thought styles, 'Denkstilwandel', the collective is not consolidated. No commonly shared views exist.
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In this phase no uniform thought styles can be identified; the collective shaping of identities is in flux. Cognitively and institutionally it is still unclear where the development will lead. Such considerations are also helpful for our study: In the phase of the 'nano-scientific challenge' we expected to find a variety of different positions and estimations of the present and future role of toxicology within or outside of the nanosciences. Therefore, a third concept; that of 'boundary work' is helpful for describing the various possibilities that result from that assumption [ 31 ].
Thomas Gieryn has developed the concept of 'boundaries' to describe textual as well as institutional demarcations between 'science' and 'non-science ' [ 32 ]. In accordance with the concept of finalization cognitive, institutional, social aspects, shaping the development of disciplines mentioned above and the anticipated heterogeneity of the thought styles of scientists working inside a transforming field, the point of boundary work lies in the fact that the fixing of boundaries depends on contextual factors such as which the topics, questions and methods belong to 'our' field and which do not.
Using the 'boundary work'-concept, we hope to show, in the case of toxicology, how scientific fields form their disciplinary identity by setting boundaries between new and old research fields. Against this background, we will analyze toxicology as a scientific discipline, which is establishing itself within the field of nanosciences and -technologies.
Herein, we are interested in what way toxicologists are producing their knowledge and how involved researchers assess their professional identity. Furthermore, we will analyze the cognitive, institutional and political aspects, shaping the disciplinary development. Herein, we will put a particular focus on the shifting thought styles of the particle toxicological community and their setting of boundaries with regard to the emerging fields of nanosciences and -technologies.
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Finalization-concept: three aspects, influencing the development of science and scientific disciplines. Concept of thought collectives and thought styles. Scientific disciplines represent thought collectives with a particular style of thinking, influenced by their cultural, political and social context. For the analysis of disciplinary identity-building processes, we selected a qualitative sociological research approach, based on the method of 'grounded theory' [ 33 ].
It consists of a case study analysis [ 34 ] within the research field of particle- and inhalation toxicology and an empirical study. We also worked with qualitative interviews and the problem-centered interview method [ 35 ]. This allows for the combination of narrative elements with a manual structure, which enables the consideration of background knowledge [ 36 ].
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In our research we interviewed fifteen leading scientists from Germany, Holland, Switzerland and the USA, all of whom are analyzing the potential health impacts of nano-scale particles. We recruited our interview partners through the method of'theoretical sampling' [ 37 ]. With this method we did not chose a representative sample following the usual criteria of sample selection, e.
We rather selected persons, participants, and representative institutions, with regard to their potential for contributing to the research project. Hence, neither the extent nor the characteristics of the sample were fixed in advance. In addition, theoretical sampling allows the selection of new participants, whose relevance only shows up during the research process. Sample selection was terminated when theoretical saturation was reached [ 38 ].
Theoretical saturation is reached when the insights gained per additional interview declines. Qualitative research, and the approach of 'grounded theory' distinguish themselves in not working with preliminarily defined variables. Rather, the analytical codes are directly extracted from the interview-sequences.
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Along those codes, which build up the subsequent result section, the arguments are worked out [ 39 ]. Following a historic overview at knowledge-production in toxicology, we will present our views on disciplinary identity formation in toxicology through a discussion of citations from our interviews. In this chapter, we will give a historical overview at the development of toxicology and its three-phase transformation into a scientific discipline.
Furthermore, we will focus on the specific methods and practices with which toxicological knowledge-production enters the nano-sciences.
Selected quotations from our interviews will be used to illustrate how toxicological identity formation is challenged by the cooccurrence of a previous, historically grown technical self-understanding thought style as well as the new requirements of participating in the nano-sciences. Traditionally, toxicology examines the potentially harmful effects of chemical or physical agents for biological systems.
It is also called the science of the poisons [ 40 ]. During its transformation into a scientific discipline, toxicology went through three phases: In the first phase, the health effects of selected substances were observed. First, toxicologists wrote down a phenomenology of poisons and remedies.
The roots of such phenomenologies of poison can be retraced in the origins of the development of human medicine. In antique European, Arabic and Asian cultures, knowledge of toxic substances was inseparably linked with medical training and practice [ 40 ]. Furthermore, the science of toxin was closely linked to botany and the plant sciences in ancient Greece. Theophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle BC composed botanical works and gave detailed descriptions of medicinal and poisonous plants.
His work has been designated as the beginning of modern botanies. Arab cultures developed chemical approaches in toxicology. In the Middle Ages, mainly southern European physicists like Maimonides — and Pietro de Abano — contributed to the identification of poisons [ 40 ]. A second phase covered the experimental approaches, used to examine the mechanisms of dose effect dependence. Paracelsus — is considered the founder of this phase.