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Talk, Thu 19 Sep 2019, free entry

The Growth of Large Collaborations in Science

The Growth of Large Collaborations in Science


ALAN WATSON was Professor of Physics at the University of Leeds from 1984 until 2003. He was instrumental in the creation of the Pierre Auger Observatory [] in Argentina in 1999, which gathered data leading to major discoveries in cosmic-ray astronomy. It covered an area of 3,000 km2, with 1,600 particle detectors, placed at 1.5 km intervals.

Last year, Professor Watson published a paper along with 4000 other co-authors describing various observations that were made following the detection of the coalescences of two neutron stars. Such vast numbers of authors on a scientific paper are by no means exceptional and the current record for a single paper stands at 5154. By drawing on his own experiences of working in the fields of high-energy cosmic rays, astrophysical neutrinos and gravitational waves, Professor Watson will trace the growth of such large collaborations in science – particularly in physics. No specialist knowledge of these areas of physics is required however, to appreciate the important questions that Professor Watson will explore, and which have become of increasing interest to sociologists of science – such as – ‘why are these collaborations are necessary?’, ‘how they are formed?’, ‘how do they work?’, ‘what are their international aspects?’, ‘how does a young person survive and develop in such an environment?’, ‘what questions of diversity arise?’ and the all important issue of ‘how authorship is decided’.

Cash PointCredit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPostboxPublic toiletsRegional Tourist Board MemberTelephone (public)Facilities for conferencingFacilities for corporate hospitality

Event details

Dates Times
Thu 19 Sep 2019 17:30 to 00:00


Free entry

This lecture is free and you do not need a ticket – but if you are coming with a group of friends and would like seats reserving, please contact:-Dr J E Lydon: Secretary, Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, Faculty of Biological Sciences, The University of Leeds, LS2 9JT

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Woodhouse Lane,



See location of University Of Leeds on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: SE 295347  Lat: 53.80775 Long: -1.55350

By Car:

Leeds University is found on the A660 road to Skipton and is clearly signposted from the A58 .

By Public Transport: The University is served by many buses including 1,95,96 and X84 which depart from Leeds bus station

Parking: free

Accessible by Public Transport: 2 miles from Leeds station


  • Cash PointCash Point
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • PostboxPostbox
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Regional Tourist Board MemberRegional Tourist Board Member
  • Telephone (public)Telephone (public)
  • Facilities for conferencingFacilities for conferencing
  • Facilities for corporate hospitalityFacilities for corporate hospitality