Steve Shapin, Professor of the History of Science at Harvard, and author of the excellent book, A Scientific Life, wrote an essay for Seed in 2008 on the state of the scientist that has new relevance.
In one sense, the enfolding of science in structures that produce wealth and project power is just a sign of its practitioners’ immense success over the course of the past century.
As we enter the 21st century, new institutional configurations for doing science emerge, together with new scientific agendas and new conceptions of what it is to be a scientist. Some participants and observers of the scene celebrate these changes; others are seriously worried about them. We can be sure of only one thing: The identity of the modern scientist is, in every possible sense, a work in progress.
A good weekend read.