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Knowledge, Organization, and ManagementBuilding on the Work of Max Boisot$
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John Child and Martin Ihrig

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669165

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669165.001.0001

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Boisot and the God Particle

Boisot and the God Particle

(p.236) (p.237) 17 Boisot and the God Particle
Knowledge, Organization, and Management

Marzio Nessi

Oxford University Press

In a very personal reflective essay, Marzio Nessi, the technical coordinator of the ATLAS Collaboration at CERN, recounts Max Boisot’s work and interaction with the particle physics community at ATLAS and CERN, whose research on the Higgs particle, the famous “God particle”, has attracted a lot of media attention. Boisot was interested in the creation of knowledge at ATLAS and studied its unique organization, characterized by collaborative behavior, a bottom-up approach, and a consensus-driven management style, which has enabled this Big Science institution to create a new way of dealing with extreme complexity. Boisot was fascinated by how a scientific collaboration as large as ATLAS generates and sustains creative and constructive interactions among thousands of researchers from diverse cultures, traditions and habits. He believed that the self-organizational capability of the collaboration was the key to success. Boisot’s research also laid the ground for studying how scientific and technical progress is made and how the value of basic research can be captured for society.

Keywords:   ATLAS experiment, CERN, Max Boisot, particle physics, Higgs particle, God particle, creation of knowledge, organization, collaborative behavior, consensus-driven management, Big Science, complexity, scientific collaboration, self-organizational capability, scientific and technical progress, basic research, societal benefit

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