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Society for Social Studies of Science

Nicholas C. Mullins Award

2012 Winner, Joeri Bruyninckx

Remarks by Laurel Smith-Doerr

As the Chair of the Nicholas Mullins student paper award committee, I would like to thank the other members of the prize committee, particularly Steve Zehr, for his work in reviewing the many excellent student papers we received last year—66 papers in all.

The winning paper, by Joeri Bruyninckx, entitled “Sound Sterile: Making Scientific Field Recordings in Ornithology” was about birds. I quote from Joeri’s beautifully written paper, which was about: "…how ornithologists made conscious decisions on what to record and how to record it. These decisions were structured by recording …technologies. …[T]he spectrograph represented cascading technologies of increasing control over sound, exemplified by a silenced and white background. It is through this sterile environment that the field site connects to the laboratory, as unwanted sound is intentionally eliminated."

While the birds are also important actors in the network, it is really about the ornithologists and the recording technologies. This is an excellent paper and well deserving of the 4S Nicholas Mullins student paper prize. So please do join us in congratulating Joeri Bruyninckx on winning this award. --Laurel Smith-Doerr