Michael Lynch: Distinguished Visitor Events

Network Node: 
Mon., Sep. 10, 2012, 9:00am - Fri., Sep. 14, 2012, 5:30pm

University of Alberta Distinguished Visitor, September 10-14, 2012
Professor Michael Lynch, Cornell University

The University of Alberta Node of the Cluster is pleased to support graduate student help for these events.

The University of Alberta is pleased to host Michael Lynch, Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University, as a distinguished visitor. Prof. Lynch is internationally recognised as a key scholar in the fields of science and technology studies, discourse, ethnomethodology and visual representation. His work has been essential to theorising approaches to understanding the production of knowledge through the study of ordinary action, and to pioneering empirical research in the laboratories, clinical settings and legal environments where science and expertise take place.

Prof. Lynch is a widely cited and award winning writer. He is the author of “Scientific practice and ordinary action: Ethnomethodology and social studies of science, for which he won the Robert K. Merton Professional award from the Science, Knowledge and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. He is also the author (with Cole, McNally and Jordan) of “Truth Machine: The Contentious History of DNA fingerprinting”; winner of the Distinguished Publication Award from the Ethnomethodology/Conversation Analysis section of the American Sociological Association.
In addition, Prof. Lynch has been the long-time editor of Social Studies of Science (finishing his term this September), and is the former President of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).

During his visit to Edmonton and the University of Alberta Prof. Lynch will be conducting a series of lectures, seminars and research workshops. University staff and students, as well as members of the wider community are invited to join the following activities.

Seminar: Science, Expertise and the Law
September 10, 2012 1-3pm; Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA); Room 2-420

Based on his widely praised book ‘Truth Machine: the Contentious History of DNA fingerprinting’, Prof.
Lynch will speak about the difficult intersections between science, expertise and the law. His research points to the many contradictions in the ways in which we think about DNA technologies as objective ‘truth machines’ and the distinctly human activities of evidence making in the courtroom. The seminar is an opportunity for scholars and students in criminology, law and science & technology studies to explore the ways in which evidence and technology are performed and contested in practical contexts. Following a brief presentation by Prof. Lynch, Prof. Kevin Haggerty (Sociology) will facilitate an engagement between the author and seminar participants.
Registration is limited. To register please e-mail Bryan Sluggett at sluggett@ualberta.ca

Public Lecture: Images in Nanotechnology: Art, Revelation and Obscurity - Poster Attached
September 12, 2012; 4:30-6:30 pm; ECHA, 2nd Floor
(Refreshments to follow)
Please register your interest at:

Nanotechnology (nano for short) includes a broad array of fields that study and manipulate molecules and atoms at a scale of around 1-100 nanometers (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter). Visual images have a prominent role in nanotechnology research, and for the promotion and public interface of the field. Nano images are of interest for social and cultural studies of science for at least two related reasons. One is that many nano images are produced and displayed explicitly as art, and how they use artistic conventions is critically important for conveying public understanding (and misunderstanding) of the field. The other reason is that nano images represent phenomena in interesting and problematic ways. Nanoscale phenomena are smaller than wavelengths of light, and are subject to quantum forces that do not readily translate into familiar visual configurations. And yet, popular images of nanoscale objects depict them as objects and mechanisms that evoke familiar macroscale things, forms, and landscapes. Critics argue that popularized nano images obscure more than they reveal about the fields they purport to represent, but they also recognize that no image can simply depict nanoscale reality. In other words, there is no escape from imagination. This presentation explores a range of different types of nano image, and critically addresses the question of how the visual imagination displayed by such images relates to a deeply invisible realm.

Panel Discussion: Prof. Robert Smith (History and Classics), Prof. Nils Petersen (Chemistry)
Chair: Dr. Kevin Jones, CRSC, Faculty of Extension

Workshop: Researching science and expertise as practice and ordinary action
September 13, 2012; 2-4pm; ECHA 1-457
This workshop is intended for those interested in researching the production of knowledge, science and expertise in practice. Drawing on Prof. Lynch’s extensive methodological background in the field of ethnomethodology and the study of discourse and social interaction, this workshop is an opportunity for staff and graduate students to explore these methods in their own research.
Registration is limited. To register please e-mail Bryan Sluggett at sluggett@ualberta.ca

Opportunities to meet Prof. Lynch.
September 14, 2012; 9-11am
Prof. Lynch will be available to meet University staff and graduate students on an individual basis on the Friday morning of his visit. If you would be interested in booking an appointment please contact Dr. Kevin Jones at k.e.jones@ualberta.ca

All events are being held at the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA). A new addition to the University of Alberta Campus, the ECHA is located at the corner of 114 Street and 87 Avenue and is accessible from the Health Sciences LRT station.

For further information about these events or Prof. Lynch’s visit to the University of Alberta please contact Dr. Kevin Jones: (k.e.jones@ualberta.ca; 780-910-2878).