Europhys. Lett.
Volume 67, Number 4, August 2004
Page(s) 511 - 516
Section General
Published online 01 August 2004
Europhys. Lett., 67 (4), pp. 511-516 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10104-y

How famous is a scientist? -Famous to those who know us

J. P. Bagrow1, H. D. Rozenfeld1, E. M. Bollt1, 2 and D. ben-Avraham1

1  Department of Physics, Clarkson University - Potsdam, NY 13699-5820, USA
2  Department of Math and Computer Science, Clarkson University Potsdam, NY 13699-5805, USA

(Received 23 April 2004; accepted in final form 10 June 2004)

Following a recent idea, to measure fame by the number of Google hits found in a search on the WWW, we study the relation between fame (Google hits) and merit (number of papers posted on an electronic archive) for a random group of scientists in condensed matter and statistical physics. Our findings show that fame and merit in science are linearly related, and that the probability distribution for a certain level of fame falls off exponentially. This is in sharp contrast with the original findings about WW I ace pilots, for which fame is exponentially related to merit (number of downed planes), and the probability of fame decays in power law fashion. Other groups in our study show similar patterns of fame as for ace pilots.

02.50.-r - Probability theory, stochastic processes, and statistics.
87.23.Ge - Dynamics of social systems.
89.75.Hc - Networks and genealogical trees.

© EDP Sciences 2004