I remember vividly an academic conference on a certain field of natural science several years ago. The final claim in my presentation was that it was necessary to foresee and counteract hype in scientific research in order to bypass what has been called the “trough of disillusionment” (Fenn and Raskino 2011: 4). In reply, a scientist commenting from the floor disagreed: rather than moderate the hype, scientists had to facilitate it, riding on hype whenever it arrived. At that very moment, I intuitively grasped the structure of this particular scientific myth—that is, scientists can't help but follow a science boom even when they realize that it relies on a set of fictive narratives for future development and will inevitably lead to stagnation once the hype subsides.

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As a colloid chemist, a historian of chemistry, and a translator of David...

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