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ABSTRACT What is the state of science these days such that one laboratory in particular—the Clark Center at Stanford—often gets singled out as the right place for the job? The design of new buildings for research must respect architectural and technical conventions that have long defined the essence of a laboratory or risk becoming so idiosyncratic that suspicions are raised about the worthiness of claims made inside. And yet the material form of the laboratory changes incessantly in response both to the instrumentational needs of inquiry and to the political, economic, and moral integument that steers the pursuit of natural knowledge. The Clark Center succeeds as a truth-spot by virtue of its decontextualization from local epistemic pollutants and its universalization as a generic space recognizably like other labs anywhere, even as novel features of its design are indelibly shaped by the market insistences of late capitalism.
© 2008 by The History of Science Society. All rights reserved. 0028-9904/2008/9904-0007$10.00