KLI Colloquia are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

H.-J. Rheinberger
KLI Colloquia
About Split and Splice. A Phenomenology of Experimentation
2024-04-09 15:00 - 2024-04-09 17:00
Organized by KLI

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
9.Apr. 2024 03:00 PM Wien

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Topic description / abstract:

I will present some aspects of my new book Split and Splice (Chicago University Press 2023). The overall aim of the book is to give a consistent assessment of experimentation as a knowledge-generating procedure by focusing on its practice. In the first part of the book, the different facets of the process of experimentation are dealt with from a microscopic perspective. The second part deals with its macroscopic features. Taken together, they render visible what is usually overlooked with respect to experimentation, either because it remains below the threshold of perception or because it lies beyond it. Experimental systems are taken as a starting point. They are in themselves already complex units of epistemic objects and the apparatus used to investigate them. Different aspects of an experimental setup are examined more closely in the first part of the book: the production of traces and their conversion into data, the construction of models, the ways of making things visible, the forms of grafting new instruments and procedures onto an existing ensemble, and note-taking. These aspects will be juxtaposed and characterized in their peculiarities and interrelations. The second part of the book focuses on the interrelations that experimental systems entertain among themselves. The characteristic temporal, spatial, and narrative dimensions of these articulations will be traced. Concepts that serve as guidelines in the investigation, such as that of experimental culture, will be presented by way of examples, and they will be developed and tested for their usefulness on materials taken from the history of twentieth-century life sciences.


Biographical note:

The main focus of Hans-Jörg Rheinberger’s research lies in the history and epistemology of experimentation in the life sciences. By bridging the gap between the study of history and contemporary cutting-edge sciences, such as molecular biology, his work represents an example of transdisciplinarity as emerging in the present knowledge-based society. The Swiss-born scientist studied philosophy and biology in Tübingen and Berlin, Germany. He received his MA in philosophy in 1973, his PhD in biology in 1982, and his habilitation in molecular biology in 1987. He was Assistant Professor at the University of Lübeck, Germany, and Associate Professor at the University of Salzburg, Austria. Since 1997, he has been a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

Hans-Jörg Rheinberger has been a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin and of the Collegium Helveticum in Zürich and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the KLI. He is honorary professor at the Institute for Philosophy and History of Science of the Technical University Berlin, a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of the Sciences, a member of the Leopoldina, the German Academy of Natural Scientists, and a doctor honoris causa at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.