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Fame in the sciences: a culturomics approach

Author

Listed:
  • Ho Fai Chan

    (Queensland University of Technology)

  • Franklin G. Mixon

    () (Columbus State University)

  • Benno Torgler

    (Queensland University of Technology)

Abstract

Although scientists, like many other professionals, aspire to fame and recognition, research in the emergent field of fame and celebrity has as yet neglected to explore their fame trajectories. This study therefore uses the frequency with which scientists’ names appear in English language books between 1800 and 2000 to trace the fame of a large number of eminent scholars from different fields. The analysis suggests that, on average, fame grows substantially between the approximate ages of 30 and 50, at which point its growth slows before peaking at around 70. Beyond this point, the growth of fame is more volatile, although we observe no clear decreasing trend. In fact, fame grows again after scientists’ death, but with the fame of those born in the twentieth century exceeding that of their nineteenth century counterparts.

Suggested Citation

  • Ho Fai Chan & Franklin G. Mixon & Benno Torgler, 2019. "Fame in the sciences: a culturomics approach," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 118(2), pages 605-615, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:118:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-018-2975-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-018-2975-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ho Fai Chan & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Econometric Fellows and Nobel Laureates in Economics," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 3365-3377.
    2. Ho Fai Chan & Laura Gleeson & Benno Torgler, 2014. "Awards before and after the Nobel Prize: A Matthew effect and/or a ticket to one’s own funeral?," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 210-220.
    3. Ho Fai Chan & Ali Sina Önder & Benno Torgler, 2016. "The first cut is the deepest: repeated interactions of coauthorship and academic productivity in Nobel laureate teams," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 106(2), pages 509-524, February.
    4. Ho Fai Chan & Benno Torgler, 2015. "The implications of educational and methodological background for the career success of Nobel laureates: an investigation of major awards," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 102(1), pages 847-863, January.
    5. Ho F. Chan & Franklin G. Mixon & Benno Torgler, 2018. "Relation of early career performance and recognition to the probability of winning the Nobel Prize in economics," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 114(3), pages 1069-1086, March.
    6. George J. Borjas & Kirk B. Doran, 2015. "Prizes and Productivity: How Winning the Fields Medal Affects Scientific Output," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(3), pages 728-758.
    7. Franklin G. Mixon & Benno Torgler & Kamal P. Upadhyaya, 2017. "Scholarly impact and the timing of major awards in economics," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 112(3), pages 1837-1852, September.
    8. Ho Fai Chan & Ali Sina Önder & Benno Torgler, 2015. "Do Nobel laureates change their patterns of collaboration following prize reception?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 105(3), pages 2215-2235, December.
    9. Feldman, Maryann P & Kelley, Maryellen R, 2003. "Leveraging Research and Development: Assessing the Impact of the U.S. Advanced Technology Program," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 153-165, March.
    10. Chan, Ho Fai & Frey, Bruno S. & Gallus, Jana & Torgler, Benno, 2014. "Academic honors and performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 188-204.
    11. Ho Fai Chan & Benno Torgler, 2015. "Do great minds appear in batches?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 104(2), pages 475-488, August.
    12. Bruno S. Frey & Jana Gallus, 2017. "Towards An Economics Of Awards," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(1), pages 190-200, February.
    13. João R. Faria & Franklin G. Mixon & Kamal P. Upadhyaya, 2016. "Human capital, collegiality, and stardom in economics: empirical analysis," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 106(3), pages 917-943, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno S. Frey & Anthony Gullo, 2020. "Sic transit gloria mundi: What remains of famous economists after their deaths?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 123(1), pages 283-298, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fame; Recognition; Celebrity; Science; Culturomics;

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