In trying to marginalise the sociology of scientific knowledge into its own little ghetto, Steven Weinberg ("A zing of truth", THES, January 6) asserts what he takes to be a forceful analogy -- that no one would write a book about mountaineering called Constructing Everest.
Of course one could write such a book and it would demonstrate the very issue that Weinberg (dis)misses: the class and nationality basis in the rise of Alpinism in the 19th century: the nationalistic rivalry in the conquest of physically remote sites; the romantic failure of Mallory and Irvine; the British triumph ushering in a New Elizabethan Age; the creation of a whole sub-technology devoted to high altitude climbing, etc, etc. Everest is nothing so simple as just a very high mountain. Indeed, The THES seems to recognise this, since in the same issue you have a picture of Everest captioned "Summit of ambition".
Hugh Robinson Computing department Open University