They were both mistaken, but the paths they traced, thanks to the opening of the tunnel, are much more interesting than they had expected. In fact, by following without prejudice the interconnected threads of their reasoning, science studies will reveal a posteriori the work the scientists and the politicians had to do to become so inextricably bound together. It wasn’t determined in advance that all the elements of Weart’s account should be mixed together. The Union Minière could have carried on producing and selling copper without bothering about radium or uranium. If Marie Curie and later Frédéric Joliot had not worked at getting the company interested in the work done in their laboratories, an analyst from the Union Minière would never have had to do nuclear physics. When discussing Joliot, Weart would never have had to speak of the Upper Katanga. Conversely, once he had envisioned the possibility of a chain reaction, Joliot could have directed his research at some other topic, without having to mobilize, in order to produce a reactor, nearly all of France’s industrialists and enlightened technocrats. Writing about pre-war France, Weart would not have had to mention Joliot. (Latour 1999:86)
LATOUR, Bruno. 1999. Pandora’s Hope: essays on the reality of science studies. London: Harvard University Press.