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How to quantify all aspects of society
April 10, 2012 9:51 AM   Subscribe

"Samuel Arbesman is a senior scholar at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and author of the forthcoming book 'The Half-Life of Facts'. His research and essays explore how to quantify all aspects of society."

(Memespread was previously featured on the blue and subsequently, the gray. He has also made the front page for a map for the Milky Way Transit Authority and predicting inhabitable planet discovery.)

Sam Arbesman has written on a number of topics. His old blog covered a variety of topics, focusing on those he finds academically interesting, particularly math and science as they relate to culture. He thrives on complex systems and visualizations. One post discussed the history of Connecticut's Panhandle and New York's Oblong. He has also discussed the sound of Fran Drescher's voice as it relates to sex.

A few years ago, he named an asteroid after George Plimpton. (A relevant Boston Globe article is behind a paywall.) His eponymous Arbesman's Limit governs eponymous principles, but he's also done more serious writing about universal constants.

His piece "The Mysterious Equilibrium of Zombies and Other Things Mathematicians See at the Movies" (supplementary material available) is featured in The Best Writing on Mathematics 2010.

These days, Arbesman blogs for Wired Science in a column called Social Dimension, about hapax legomena, fundamental laws of cooking, superheroes' family trees, and the like. He tweets about all these topics and more. In addition to journalism, Arbesman is an active computational scientist, his Ph.D. having been supervised by Steven Strogatz (previously), a familiar name to many MeFite Radiolab listeners.
posted by knile (4 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

"Samuel Arbesman is a senior scholar at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and author of the forthcoming book 'The Half-Life of Facts'.

So this has nothing to do with the Black Mesa Research Facility?

posted by Fizz at 10:00 AM on April 10, 2012

The Foundation was founded in 1980 By JR, John and Andy.
posted by marienbad at 11:31 AM on April 10, 2012

This is neat! It's the first time that I've seen someone I've met personally on the Blue, and I'm happy that it's Sam -- his work is awesome.
posted by k8lin at 1:45 PM on April 10, 2012

I asked while drafting this post, and Sam is not yet "MeFi's own". But he does lurk and maybe this will draw him over to the, er, blue side. He tweeted it to his followers, so maybe he'll pop in yet.

I realize that all this may make it seem like I know him personally, but I'm just an admirer of his work! A not-so-secret admirer now, I guess. I'll stop now. But, really, Sam, if you do sign up & in, welcome!
posted by knile at 3:14 PM on April 10, 2012

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