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Comparing thought collectives in Nuclear Physics: Cesar Lattes and physicists from North Hemisphere in the 1940s

Grant number: 18/05959-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2018
Effective date (End): October 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Science
Principal researcher:Ivã Gurgel
Grantee:Heraclio Duarte Tavares
Home Institution: Instituto de Física (IF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This project aims to compare Cesar Lattes scientific practice in Nuclear Physics in 1940s to the ones of physicists who worked on the same problems in laboratories in USA and Europe. Through the comparative analysis of the skills to handle sets of scientific instruments - settled from different thought styles (FLECK, 2010) - we want to understand in which manner the experimental culture in Nuclear Physics developed in Brazil has contributed to the detection and identification of pi and mu meson particles by Lattes. He used nuclear emulsions as detector conjugated to cosmic rays, in 1947, and to a particle accelerator, in 1948. Our idea is to understand the Brazilian Nuclear Physics thought style place in an international net of other scientific practice cultures, taking Lattes experimental skills as a guide. The resemblances and differences in the choosing of the instruments to set up a toolkit (KRIEGER, 1992) and the development of skills to analyze the collected data can reveal aspects of the epistemologies of experiments performed, grounded on the historicity of the instruments uses. The published papers with the details of the performed experiments by these scientists will be taken alongside a collection of historical sources, constituted, mainly, by their bench notebooks in order to give us some clues to locate the place of the Nuclear Physics thought style developed in Brazil in the middle of others from North hemisphere that time. In this perspective, we hope to build up an enlarged view on the practical reason in Nuclear Physics in the historical moment of the Particle Physics creation. (AU)

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