Congratulations to Miguel Ohnesorge whose Du Châtelet Prize winning paper “Pluralising measurement: Physical geodesy's measurement problem and its resolution” has been published in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 96 51-67, 2022.
Derived measurements involve problems of coordination. Conducting them often requires detailed theoretical assumptions about their target, while such assumptions can lack sources of evidence that are independent from these very measurements. In this paper, I defend two claims about problems of coordination. I motivate both by a novel case study on a central measurement problem in the history of physical geodesy: the determination of the earth's ellipticity. First, I argue that the severity of problems of coordination varies according to scientists' predictive and experimental control over perturbations of the measurement process. Second, I identify a methodology by which scientists can solve hard problems of coordination and gradually increase their predictive control over perturbations. I dub this methodology ‘operational pluralism’ since it is driven by the introduction of alternative measurement operations that involve different physical indicators.