Holtz Center member, Nicole Nelson was awarded a one-year residential fellowship (2018-19) at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University to begin a new project on the “reproducibility crisis” in biomedicine. This is a recent phenomenon where scientists have found many supposedly stable findings to be difficult to replicate on subsequent investigation. Using a combination of historical and ethnographic methods, she maps out the origins of this crisis and examines who scientists’ assumptions about stability and variation shape their perceptions of this crisis. More broadly, she aims to contribute to both scholarly and public discussions on notions of scientific fact, connecting scientists’ concerns about reproducibility with current discussions about post-truth politics.
The Radcliffe Fellowship Program awards 50 fellowships each academic year. Throughout the year, fellows convene regularly to share their work in progress. Nicole is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at UW-Madison and a member of the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies.