Keywords: laboratory, instruments, techno-science, actor-network theory, science and society
Even if in the perspective of the Science and Technology Studies (STS) approach the distinction between science and society has to be abandoned, scientific laboratories still remain an interesting point of observation in order to understand what is going on in science and in society. Using some paradigmatic cases this paper tries to show both how science is shaping social environment as a laboratory and how social processes are continuously implied in the construction of scientific knowledge. Special attention is devoted to the role played in these processes by scientific instruments and in general by machines. The "ubiquitous machines" make science possible, society organized and both of them mutually compatible.