Historians and sociologists of science often identify the ef.orescence of social stud-ies of science with the work of postwar American intellectuals such as Robert K. Merton and Thomas S. Kuhn. They often also refer to the views of Michael Polanyi (1891––1976) on the roles of tacit knowledge, apprenticeship, social tradition, and intellectual dogmas (or what Kuhn popularized as "paradigms") in the construction of scienti.c knowledge. The roots of Polanyi's views on the social nature of sci-ence and his insistence on the need for scientists' autonomy in managing their own affairs lie speci.cally in his career experiences as a physical chemist from 1920 to 1933 in the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft Institutes in Berlin-Dahlem. Polanyi worked in an institution in which scienti.c research was supported by an array of state, industrial, and philanthropic funds, but in which he and his colleagues enjoyed substantial autonomy in their everyday research. His own successes and failures in the .elds of physical chemistry, x-ray crystallography, and solid-state chemistry led him to re.ect upon the everyday practices of normal science and to stress the role of the ordinary rather than the revolutionary scientist in the production of scienti.c knowledge. Polanyi's views lend insight into the character of German science and the research institutes in Berlin-Dahlem in the late 19th and early 20th century.
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