Sociology of Physics: comment and indices


by marcus
Tags: comment, indices, physics, sociology
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#235
Jun15-11, 02:38 PM
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Midmonth averages of string topfive salesranks
(recorded at Pacific noon on several days around the 15th of each month)

January 2007:     4396
February 2007:    3789
November 2008:    3711
July 2009:        6485  
March 2010:       7521
April 2010:      11983
May 2010:         6884
June 2010:        9731
July 2010:        8461
August 2010:      9606
September 2010:   1060 
October 2010:     1344
November 2010     2220
December 2010     2705
January 2011      1252
February 2011      223
March 2011         349
April 2011         649
May 2011           676

13 June 903.0
14 June 1076.6
15 June 1390.9
16 June ...
17 June ...

The pop string top-five average seems to be getting back to the level it was around September 2010.
===================
Late registration could still bring the annual conference participants figure up. The Uppsala conference does not start until 27 June, i.e. in about 12 days.
Strings 2003 Kyoto 396
Strings 2004 Paris 477
Strings 2005 Toronto 415
Strings 2006 Beijing ~600
Strings 2007 Madrid 440
Strings 2008 CERN 400
Strings 2009 Rome 450
Strings 2010 Texas A&M 193
Strings 2011 Uppsala 249 (preliminary, as of 15 June)
https://www.akademikonferens.se/list...nf=strings2011
===========
Links to review job situation:
http://particle.physics.ucdavis.edu/rumor/doku.php
http://www.physics.utoronto.ca/~poppitz/Jobs94-08
The Toronto website has bar-graphs through 2010. Declining percentage of first-time faculty hires in high energy theory since 2000.
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#236
Jun16-11, 04:53 PM
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Here are some of the main string indicators being tracked in this thread:

Spires annual HEP citation ranking, with number of recent string papers making the top fifty

2001 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...1/annual.shtml (twelve)
2003 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...3/annual.shtml (six)
2005 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...5/annual.shtml (two)
2007 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...7/annual.shtml (one)
2009 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...9/annual.shtml (one)
2010 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...0/annual.shtml (zero)

A paper is counted as recent if it appeared in the past five years. There has been a decline in citiations to recent string research reflected in a drop in the number of papers making the top fifty list.
======================

First-time faculty hires in HEP theory as a whole, and the string share, averaged over 3 year periods

First-time faculty hires, US and Canada

period        particle theory        string
1999-2001     17.7 per year        8.9 per year
2002-2004     24.3  per year       7.7 per year
2005-2007     22.7 per year        6.0 per year
2008-2010     12.7 per year        2.3 per year

http://www.physics.utoronto.ca/~poppitz/
Sources:
http://www.physics.utoronto.ca/~poppitz/Jobs94-08
http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=3715
http://particle.physics.ucdavis.edu/rumor/doku.php
Post #228 has some figures and source links on this.
There has been a decline in string jobs both in absolute terms and compared with high energy physics theory jobs as a whole.
======================

Registered participants in the annual conference (for brevity I list only odd years and the last two, 2010 and 2011)
Strings 2003 Kyoto 396
Strings 2005 Toronto 415
Strings 2007 Madrid 440
Strings 2009 Rome 450
Strings 2010 Texas A&M 193
Strings 2011 Uppsala 249 (preliminary)

The registration figure for 2011 is 249 as of 17 June, could increase over the next 10 days.
http://www-conference.slu.se/strings2011/
However, we may be seeing a decline. Some earlier conferences were "booked to capacity"---registration limited by the organizers and more applicants than could be accommodated. E.g. for logistical reasons the Madrid organizers registered only 440 participants--their stated maximum. This seems not the case with the 2010 and 2011 conferences, for a change.
===================

Meanwhile, here's how the Amazon salesranks of stringy popularization books have been doing:

13 June 903.0
14 June 1076.6
15 June 1390.9
16 June 1234.8
17 June ...
These are noon readings of the top-five string salesrank averages, made around the middle of each month. On 16 June the top five books (e-elegant, hidden, grand, e-grand, e-hidden) ranked 438, 783, 940, 1596, 2417 for an average of 1234.8. The string pop market is now primarily for multiverse books. These have been selling very well.
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#237
Jun17-11, 02:26 PM
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13 June 903.0
14 June 1076.6
15 June 1390.9
16 June 1234.8
17 June 1158.4
These are noon readings of the string top-five salesrank averages, made around the middle of each month. On 17 June the top five books (e-elegant, grand, hidden, e-grand, elegant) ranked 502, 832, 874, 1604, 1980 for an average of 1158.4.

That made the June midmonth average 1153.
Midmonth averages of string topfive salesranks
(recorded at Pacific noon on several days around the 15th of each month)

January 2007:     4396
February 2007:    3789
November 2008:    3711
July 2009:        6485  
March 2010:       7521
April 2010:      11983
May 2010:         6884
June 2010:        9731
July 2010:        8461
August 2010:      9606
September 2010:   1060 
October 2010:     1344
November 2010     2220
December 2010     2705
January 2011      1252
February 2011      223
March 2011         349
April 2011         649
May 2011           676
June 2011         1153
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#238
Jun24-11, 03:52 PM
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I redid the format of this information:
Number of recent string papers making the top fifty in the annual Spires HEP topcite list
year (some omitted for brev.)   2001    2003    2005    2007    2009    2010
recent work highly cited in year  12       6       2       1       1       0
A paper is counted as recent if it appeared in the previous five years. This gauges the quality/significance of current work by how other researchers receive it.

Annual first-time faculty hires (US and Canada) in HEP theory as a whole, and in string, averaged over 3 year periods
period                           1999-2001    2002-2004   2005-2007    2008-2010
annual HEP theory hires as a whole      18           24          23           13
annual string hires                      9            8           6            2
Registered participants in the annual conference (some years omitted for brevity)
Strings 2003 Kyoto     396
Strings 2005 Toronto   415
Strings 2007 Madrid    440
Strings 2009 Rome      450
Strings 2010 Texas A&M 193
Strings 2011 Uppsala   261
Links to sources:
2001 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...1/annual.shtml (twelve)
2003 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...3/annual.shtml (six)
2005 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...5/annual.shtml (two)
2007 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...7/annual.shtml (one)
2009 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...9/annual.shtml (one)
2010 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...0/annual.shtml (zero)

http://www.physics.utoronto.ca/~poppitz/Jobs94-08
http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=3715
http://particle.physics.ucdavis.edu/rumor/doku.php

http://www-conference.slu.se/strings2011/
https://www.akademikonferens.se/list...=strings2011-S
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#239
Jul12-11, 12:07 PM
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I plan to take noon readings around the middle of the month, as usual, to keep track of the amazon salesranks of the top five stringy offerings---especially popular recently with the multiverse books by Hawking and by Greene. Barring accidents, this month I will try to get a whole week of readings, around the 15th, to base the average on. Mass market string books seem less about actual string theory nowadays---and more about multiversal imaginings (stimulated by the many versions of physics which M-speculation suggests but does not choose among.)

mid-July topfive average:
12 July 1390
13 July
14 July
15 July
16 July
17 July
18 July

At noon 12 July, the five most popular (e-elegant, grand, hidden, e-hidden, elegant) ranked 1063, 1311, 1325, 1475, 1777 for an average of 1390.
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#240
Jul14-11, 12:46 PM
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mid-July topfive average:
12 July 1390
13 July 1234
14 July 1163
15 July
16 July
17 July
18 July

At noon 12 July, the five most popular (e-elegant, grand, hidden, e-hidden, elegant) ranked 1063, 1311, 1325, 1475, 1777 for an average of 1390.
At noon 13 July, the five most popular (e-elegant, e-hidden, hidden, grand, elegant) ranked 727, 1087, 1157, 1577, 1622 for an average of 1234.
At noon 14 July, the five most popular (e-elegant, hidden, grand, e-hidden, e-grand) ranked 761, 979, 1252, 1359, 1466 for an average of 1163.
marcus
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#241
Jul17-11, 03:04 PM
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To get a mid-July string topfive salesrank average, tracking the popularization market:
12 July 1390
13 July 1234
14 July 1163
15 July 1488
16 July 1156
17 July 969
18 July ...

Updating the other indices:

Number of recent string papers making the top fifty in the annual Spires HEP topcite list
year (some omitted for brev.)   2001    2003    2005    2007    2009    2010  
recent work highly cited in year  12       6       2       1       1       0
A paper is counted as recent if it appeared in the previous five years. This gauges the quality/significance of current work by how other researchers receive it.

Annual first-time faculty hires (US and Canada) in HEP theory as a whole, and in string, averaged over 3 year periods, with prelim. estim. for 2011
period                   1999-2001    2002-2004   2005-2007    2008-2010    2011
annual HEP theory hires    18           24          23           13          11 
annual string hires         9            8           6            2           0
Registered participants in the annual conference (some years omitted for brevity)
Strings 2003 Kyoto     396
Strings 2005 Toronto   415
Strings 2007 Madrid    440
Strings 2009 Rome      450
Strings 2010 Texas A&M 193
Strings 2011 Uppsala   265
Links to sources:
2001 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...1/annual.shtml (twelve)
2003 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...3/annual.shtml (six)
2005 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...5/annual.shtml (two)
2007 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...7/annual.shtml (one)
2009 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...9/annual.shtml (one)
2010 http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...0/annual.shtml (zero)

http://www.physics.utoronto.ca/~poppitz/Jobs94-08
http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=3715
http://particle.physics.ucdavis.edu/rumor/doku.php

http://www-conference.slu.se/strings2011/
https://www.akademikonferens.se/list...=strings2011-S
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#242
Jul18-11, 02:00 PM
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As of noon 18 July the five most popular string books at Amazon (e-elegant, hidden, e-hidden, grand, e-grand) ranked 783, 1204, 1353, 1651, 1994, for an average of 1397.

To get a mid-July string topfive salesrank average, tracking the popularization market:
12 July 1390
13 July 1234
14 July 1163
15 July 1488
16 July 1156
17 July 969
18 July 1397

1257 is the mid-month average for July. Here's the record of mid-month string salesrank averages.

Midmonth averages of string topfive salesranks
(recorded at Pacific noon on several days around the 15th of each month)

January 2007:     4396
February 2007:    3789
November 2008:    3711
July 2009:        6485  
March 2010:       7521
April 2010:      11983
May 2010:         6884
June 2010:        9731
July 2010:        8461
August 2010:      9606
September 2010:   1060 
October 2010:     1344
November 2010     2220
December 2010     2705
January 2011      1252
February 2011      223
March 2011         349
April 2011         649
May 2011           676
June 2011         1153
July 2011         1257
Interest slumped during March-August 2010 (high salesranks) and then shot up in September 2010 (Hawking multiverse book) and in January 2011 (Greene multiverse book).
The two popular multiverse books (Grand Design, Hidden Reality) are not primarily about stringy ideas of unification but they do invoke the string "Landscape" of possible versions of physics (stringy thought does not nail down or determine any one version of basic particle physics, but allows a vast range of possible versions.) Making the best of this defect, some have suggested that perhaps all these possibilities are realized somewhere in nature---i.e. in a "multiverse". This IMO is more fantasy than science, but it permits one to continue regarding string/M formalism as a theory of nature. The multiverse excitement may be abating, judging from recent trends, but it is really too early to say.
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#243
Jul20-11, 02:52 PM
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You can see from the longterm record that there is currently an uptrend in the salesranks, back towards levels prior to September 2010---ie before the latest Hawking and Greene books appeared. Today 20 July at noon the stringy top five ( e-elegant, grand, e-hidden, hidden, elegant ) ranked 1221, 1738, 1894, 2395, 3389, for an average of 2127. Amazon ranks e-books separately so their ranks as books must be estimated from where they occur among the regular books on the physics bestseller list.
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#244
Jul27-11, 03:19 PM
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The string midmonth salesrank average for July was 1257. As a spot check, to see how it was doing, I looked today at noon 27 July and it was 1440.

That breaks down like this: the five most popular string books were e-elegant, hidden, grand, e-hidden, elegant, 4 for Greene and 1 for Hawking. 2 regular string and 3 multiverse (which promotes string to a possible theory of nature because it has room for the many different string versions of physics, and is thus a string-friendly vision.)

The ranks were 669, 1249, 1457, 1712, 2111 for an average of 1440.

Multiverse speculation tends to be shut out of regular annual Strings conferences, but it is popular with the general public. So it got minimal attention at the recent Strings 2011 actual conference, but outside there was a public lecture about it. Also little or no attention by the professional in regular session at Strings 2008, 2009, 2010. But sometimes stuff for the public on the outside. A curious split of emphasis.

See post 241 (three posts back from here) for indices tracking the interest and activity of actual string researchers as opposed to the popular book market.
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#245
Jul30-11, 02:38 PM
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Significant developments at the professional level can be summarized by saying that faculty hires for string are way down. (First-time faculty hires in Usa+Canada at or near zero this year.)
See post #241 above.

The annual string conference attendance has fallen off, and at the last one few of the talks were actually about string/M---people were asking "where are the strings?" and speculating as to the significance of that.

Annual citations to recent string/M research papers are sharply down from their earlier (say 2001-2003) levels.

On an anecdotal, individual level one can see a tendency for prominent string researchers to get out of the field and into related or neighboring areas of research. Perhaps "string-inspired" but not actually dealing with string brane and space with extra rolled-up dimensions. String unification seems to have been side-tracked or put on hold, with more emphasis on finding applications of the math tools in other areas. One hears a more sophisticated view that the string pictures may not necessarily be how the world is but rather one analytical approach---convenient in some context but not essential or fundamental.

There has also been some shift in views on Supersymmetry recently. Since signs of SUSY have not been showing up at the CERN collider. Quotes from string theorists have been assembled in this blog post.
http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=3864

===================

At the level of general public interest, string popularity in the book market, which is now focused mainly on multiverse thinking, has been running around 1600. Already up some from the mid-July average of 1257.

At noon on Thursday, Friday, Saturday (28, 29, 30 July) the saleranks of the five most popular string books averaged 1657, 1654, 1594.
The top five have tended to be e-elegant, grand, hidden, e-hidden, e-grand with little variation.
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#246
Aug3-11, 05:23 PM
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Not useful as a statistical index (or so I've concluded) but perhaps a handy snapshot of current topics in string research. Harvard abstracts database search using keywords: superstring, M-theory, brane, AdS/CFT, compactification, heterotic

First six months of 2010
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1

First six months of 2011
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1

The Spires database has cataloguing done by human librarians. The Harvard system seems simply to use occurrences of words in the title or abstract---tagging is done by machine in other words. Whatever the reason, the results are different.

Here's a Spires search using (human-applied) keywords "string model" and "membrane model":
2002:
http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=www&SEQUENCE= (1783)
2009:
http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=www&SEQUENCE= (1036)
2010:
http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=www&SEQUENCE= (935)
2011:
http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=www&SEQUENCE= (500)

I think the point of a search like this is not to get "ALL" of some category of research paper that you imagine in your head and you think is the right definition of string research. The point, I guess, is to apply the same test repeatedly and see if there is change and see if you can understand it. Here the test is what the DESY librarians classify a certain way, and one can only hope that their criteria are stable over the years.

BTW at noon 3 August the salesranks of the top five string books (e-elegant, grand, hidden, e-hidden, e-grand) averaged 2202. Still a long way to go before that index gets back up to its pre-September 2010 levels, that pertained before the two big multiverse books appeared.
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#247
Aug13-11, 02:37 PM
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Among indices of professional research activity a small but interesting one is the number of Loop phenomenology papers (related to observational testing) that have appeared post-2008 (i.e. 2009 and later). This search picks up a number of them, probably not all. Testing (using observations of the early universe) is crucial. So even though this only involves a few dozen papers, it is an indicator to watch.

http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...ENCE=ds%28d%29

Here's a Spires search tracking Loop gravity research publication using DESY keywords for spinfoam, loop quantum gravity, loop quantum cosmology. Evidently the figure for 2011 is incomplete. I made the search for the same years tabulated for string in the preceding post, just for comparison's sake.

2002 http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=WWW&SEQUENCE= (25)
2009 http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=WWW&SEQUENCE= (142)
2010 http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=WWW&SEQUENCE= (154)
2011 http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=WWW&SEQUENCE= (112)

The possible significance here is not the absolute numbers but the change over time, assuming the librarians apply their keyword categories consistently each year. DESY keywords are applied by hand, not by machine. You probably can't get ALL the papers you imagine to be in whatever category, but you can see how the number changes.

Here's a Spires search using the DESY library's keywords "string model" and "membrane model":
2002 http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=www&SEQUENCE= (1783)
2009 http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=www&SEQUENCE= (1037)
2010 http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=www&SEQUENCE= (935)
2011 http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=www&SEQUENCE= (529)

This is as of 13 August, evidently the 2011 figure will increase as the year progresses.
If you want a very rough estimate of the final figure you can multiply the current one by 12/7.5 since at this point about 7.5 of the 12 months are in.

For other indices connected with professional research and faculty jobs, see post #241 in this thread:
http://physicsforums.com/showthread....14#post3407914

=======
The main indicator of wide audience interest we have been watching is the string topfive Amazon salesrank average.
At noon 13 August the five most popular stringy books (grand, e-elegant, e-grand, e-hidden, hidden) ranked 752, 1198, 1501, 2408, 3547 for an average of 1881.

The corresponding topfive average at noon 12 August was 1757. I'm planning to record a midmonth average as I've done in the past.

12 August 1757
13 August 1881
14 August
15 August
16 August
17 August
18 August

The most popular stringy books tend to involve imagining multiverses rather than explaining string theory per se. Stephen Hawking's The Grand Design is especially popular in the wake of his prominent role in a TV series called "Curiosity".

Here's what that index has looked like for the past year. September 2010 was when Hawking's grand design multiverse book came out.

Midmonth averages of string topfive salesranks
(recorded at Pacific noon on several days around the 15th of each month)

August 2010:      9606
September 2010:   1060 
October 2010:     1344
November 2010     2220
December 2010     2705
January 2011      1252
February 2011      223
March 2011         349
April 2011         649
May 2011           676
June 2011         1153
July 2011         1257
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#248
Aug15-11, 01:04 PM
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To update something in the previous post,

12 August 1757
13 August 1881
14 August 1371
15 August 1831
16 August
17 August
18 August

At noon 15 August the top five stringy books (grand, e-elegant, hidden, e-grand, elegant) ranked 1023, 1436, 1769, 2015, 2914, for an average of 1831
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#249
Aug17-11, 02:40 PM
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12 August 1757
13 August 1881
14 August 1371
15 August 1831
16 August 2244
17 August 2618
18 August

At Pacific noon 17 August the top five stringy books (grand, e-elegant, e-grand, hidden, elegant) ranked 1546, 1797, 2443, 3472, 3833, for an average of 2618.
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#250
Aug18-11, 02:05 PM
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At Pacfic noon 18 August the string top five (e-elegant, grand, e-grand, hidden, elegant) ranked
1736, 1762, 2661, 3319, 4405, for an average of 2777. This makes our 7-day mid-month average for August come out to 2068.
Midmonth averages of string topfive salesranks
(recorded at Pacific noon on several days around the 15th of each month)

January 2007:     4396
February 2007:    3789
November 2008:    3711
July 2009:        6485  
March 2010:       7521
April 2010:      11983
May 2010:         6884
June 2010:        9731
July 2010:        8461
August 2010:      9606
September 2010:   1060 
October 2010:     1344
November 2010     2220
December 2010     2705
January 2011      1252
February 2011      223
March 2011         349
April 2011         649
May 2011           676
June 2011         1153
July 2011         1257
August 2011       2068
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#251
Aug26-11, 03:06 PM
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Learning how to use Inspire search, which will be replacing Spires.

type this into the box:
keyword:"quantum gravity: loop space" OR "quantum cosmology: loop space" OR "spin: foam" and date=2011

You get this:
http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=25&sc=0&of=hb (161 found)

161 records are found, presumably will increase between now and yearend. Perhaps, since about 8/12 of the year is over now, it could increase to something like 12/8 of present size. And perhaps not. Hard to guess.

Let's do that also for the years 2005 through 2010
LOOP RESEARCH BY YEAR (Inspire beta)
2005 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=25&sc=0&of=hb (49 found)
2006 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=25&sc=0&of=hb (105 found)
2007 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=25&sc=0&of=hb (152 found)
2008 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=25&sc=0&of=hb (189 found)
2009 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=25&sc=0&of=hb (200 found)
2010 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=25&sc=0&of=hb (201 found)
2011 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=25&sc=0&of=hb (161 found)


Today I did a spot check of the popular string book market. At noon the top five books (grand, e-elegant, elegant, hidden, e-grand) ranked 2017, 2539, 4423, 5021, 5846, for an average of 3969.

You can look back and compare. This autumn (perhaps as late as November) PBS will be coming on with a Brian Greene special (we've seen flashy visual effects previewed). This time the basis is his Fabric of the Cosmos. This will boost sales of the book.
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#252
Aug27-11, 11:50 AM
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I'm still learning how to use Inspire. Here is a corrected version of what I posted yesterday.

LOOP RESEARCH BY YEAR (Inspire beta)
2005 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=10&sc=0&of=hb (42 found)
2006 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=10&sc=0&of=hb (77 found)
2007 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=10&sc=0&of=hb (120 found)
2008 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=10&sc=0&of=hb (142 found)
2009 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=10&sc=0&of=hb (145 found)
2010 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=10&sc=0&of=hb (153 found)
2011 http://inspirebeta.net/search?ln=en&...=10&sc=0&of=hb (123 found as of 27 August)

Inspire will double count if you aren't careful with the settings--a paper has two dates the year it first appeared (say as preprint on arxiv) and the final version date (say as published in journal). What Inspire does is good but you need to consciously select which type of date to use in finding the papers of that year.


I did another spot check of the popular string book market. At noon 27 August the top five books (grand, e-elegant, hidden, e-grand, elegant) ranked 1431, 2014, 2970, 4065, 4291 for an average of 2954.


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