Little helpers: About demons, angels and other servants

Jimena Canales, Markus Krajewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In politics as in history, masters accomplish great things, but often, lowly beings such as servants perform those tasks. At times, they subvert them. In science, servant-beings are frequently described as demons and angels. Who are these effective agents? This essay traces parts of the large historical network of persons and places in which 'little helpers' service their master's will. It looks at instances were masters try to exorcise the servant-demons who instead of helping them, disturb their plans. By uncovering fragments of this often hidden network, we explore the strange relationship between masters and servants, and the role of earthly and heavenly agents in science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-331
Number of pages18
JournalInterdisciplinary Science Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Laboratory servant
  • Laplace's demon
  • Maxwell's demon
  • Noise
  • Parasites
  • Scientific agency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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