Representing Experimental Procedures through Diagrams at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider: The Communicatory Value of Diagrammatic Representations in Collaborative Research
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The aim of this paper is to elucidate the use and role of diagrams in the design of present day high energy physics experiments. To this end, drawing upon a prominent account of diagrammatic representations advanced by the cognitive scientists Jill Larkin and Herbert Simon, I provide an analysis of the diagrammatic representations of the data selection and acquisition procedures presented in the Technical Design Report of the ATLAS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, where the Higgs particle was discovered in 2012. Based upon this analysis, I argue that diagrams are more useful than texts in organizing and communicating the procedural information concerning the design of the aforementioned experimental procedures in the ATLAS experiment. Moreover, I point out that by virtue of their representational features, diagrams have a particular communicatory value in the collaborative work of designing the data acquisition system of the ATLAS experiment.