Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems
The Half-Life of Facts
Wednesdays@NICO Seminar, Noon, March 6 2013, Chambers Hall, Lower Level
Dr. Sam Arbesman, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Everyone intuitively knows that facts change. But just as a half-life in radioactive decay implies a systematic degradation that is predictable and understandable, there are also patterns and regularities to how facts change over time. I explore the mathematics and science behind how knowledge grows and is overturned over time. Lastly, I explore the future of knowledge and its implications.
Samuel Arbesman is an applied mathematician and network scientist. He is a senior scholar at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. In addition, he writes for popular audiences as a contributor to Wired.com, and his essays about math and science have appeared in such places as the New York Times, The Atlantic and the Ideas section of the Boston Globe. Arbesman is the author of the new book The Half-Life of Facts. Additional information can be found at his webpage: http://arbesman.net/