Measuring cultural evolution by tracking where notable people were born, died

August 1, 2014 1:26 PM

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Measuring cultural evolution by tracking where notable people were born, died

An international team of researchers, including an art historian and a handful of physicists, have crunched three giant databases that record the births and deaths of notable people to map the geographical creep of culture over two millennia.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, presents an unusual way of tracing the arc of history. In lieu of the more typical approach of digging deep into a distinguished individual’s life or a particular time period, the researchers instead marked the discrete beginning and ends of thou...

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