Posted by Spinning the superweb |

When I started this project in 2005, I was a young string theorist with no idea of where to look for advice in order to carry out research into the history of science. I wrote several pages and sent them to some professional historians of physics. As I expected I received valuable critical feedback and advice from them. Among those I would like to acknowledge here are Cathryn Carson from Berkeley for her cautious skepticism about my original ideas, Peter Galison from Harvard who found time for a short conversation in Paris, and Sharon Traweek from UCLA for suggesting ways to improve the material. Even though these comments were very general and the articles have subsequently changed in form and content, I thank them for these initial critical and motivating words.

For many years I have enjoyed discussions and correspondence with Roberto Bravo, an old teacher of mine in philosophy and history of science now at Sitges, Barcelona. Roberto has been a long-term supportive friend. With Bert Schroer from Frei Universität, Berlin, now at the CBPF, Rio de Janeiro, I have met a couple of times and discussed general issues concerning the history of theoretical physics. In chapter 7 I examine in some detail a proposal on the history of superstring theory that we have formulated quite independently, at least in its broadest terms. My thanks to Roberto and Bert.

Evelyn Fox Keller from MIT in December 2006 pointed out to me that my approach to the history of science as explained in chapter 1 was somehow similar to Fleck's ideas exposed in his classic Origin and Development of a Scientific Fact. Unfortunately, I only read Fleck's book after I had completed most of the essays; I decided not to modify them in order to acknowledge my original references. I look forward to including more on Fleck's ideas in future developments of this project. I thank Fox Keller for this recommendation, it was no small thing, and for her encouraging comments.

Finally, I would like to warmly acknowledge David Kaiser from MIT for his accurate reading and instructive comments on chapter 1 and 3. Kaiser also read a preliminary draft incorporating the main ideas of every chapter. He provided me with valuable advice, pointing out weak points in the argument and telling me how to strengthen them. Many thanks to Kaiser for his very much needed help.

To conclude, I must say that since its inception this project has been a solo endeavor and all the ideas discussed here are my own, and none of them necessarily reflect the opinions of the aforementioned people.



All essays written by Oswaldo Zapata Marín. © All rights reserved 2006-2009, Oswaldo Zapata Marín.

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