Big Science

Big Science attacks complex problems through large corporate enterprises and megamachines like CERN or Fermilab. Often the smaller the phenomenon, the larger and more complex the instrument set. 

Daniel Bell characterizes the central feature of "Post-Industrial Society" as the codification of theoretical knowledge and the new relation of science to technology. This knowledge-based society, what Alain Touraine calls la societé programmée opens up a "new mode of development," to quote Manuel Castells. 

Freeman Dyson provides an interesting critique of big science in his story of the Boulou and Fulani tribes in a village in Central Africa, as illustrations of the importance of status in bureaucratic/technological issues -- where bigger may not provide the better results, but is big in prestige. For Dyson, the supercolliding superconductor project is an extreme example of big science, putting too many resources into one project, and swayed by considerations of prestige. (see "Six Cautionary Tales for Scientists" in From Eros to Gaia.)