May 10 2011 12:30pm to May 10 2011 12:30pm

Culturomics: Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books

Erez Lieberman Aiden, Harvard Society of Fellows & Jean-Baptiste Michel, FQEB Fellow at Harvard (and both Visiting Faculty at Google)

Tuesday, May 10, 12:30 pm
Pound Hall, Room 100, Harvard Law School **Note updated location**
RSVP required for those attending in person to Amar Ashar (
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.

From Erez & JB:

We constructed a corpus of digitized texts containing about 4% of all books ever printed. Analysis of this corpus enables us to investigate cultural trends quantitatively. We survey the vast terrain of ‘culturomics,’ focusing on linguistic and cultural phenomena that were reflected in the English language between 1800 and 2000. We show how this approach can provide insights about fields as diverse as lexicography, the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, the pursuit of fame, censorship, and historical epidemiology. Culturomics extends the boundaries of rigorous quantitative inquiry to a wide array of new phenomena spanning the social sciences and the humanities.

About Erez

Erez Lieberman Aiden is a fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and Visiting Faculty at Google. His research spans many disciplines and has won numerous awards, including recognition for one of the top 20 "Biotech Breakthroughs that will Change Medicine", by Popular Mechanics; the Lemelson-MIT prize for the best student inventor at MIT; the American Physical Society's Award for the Best Doctoral Dissertation in Biological Physics; and membership in Technology Review's 2009 TR35, recognizing the top 35 innovators under 35. His last three papers - two with JB Michel - have all appeared on the cover of Nature and Science.

About Jean-Baptiste

Jean-Baptiste Michel is FQEB Fellow at Harvard and Visiting Faculty at Google. With Erez Lieberman Aiden, he founded the Cultural Observatory at Harvard, where their team develops quantitative approaches to the humanities and social sciences. Jean-Baptiste is an Engineer of Ecole Polytechnique, and received an MS in Applied Math and a PhD in Systems Biology from Harvard.


Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Copyright License: 
Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Unported

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Last updated date

January 31, 2015