Sunday, February 26, 2012

Big Science in Sociology

The search for the Higgs Boson particle has captivated a wide range of people all over the world, and the construction of the Large Hadron Collider is the reason for this widespread interest. Is such a "big science" approach possible in the social sciences, including sociology? Although the details to me seem obscure, researchers in Europe have developed a proposal for what they call the FuturICT, a "big science" project for the social sciences (ICT stands for "Information and Communication Technology") in the mode of the Manhattan Project, Apollo Project, and Large Hadron Collider. But what is it, exactly, that they are proposing? I get the sense it's a giant computer simulation, but it doesn't seem entirely clear.