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A Brane cosmology

  1. Sep 21, 2016 #1
    I have been wondering lately if the research output in brane cosmology has decreased over the last couple of years. When it first started, there were a lot of people working in the field.

    Any thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2016 #2


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    One fairly crude way to get at it would be to do searches for several sets of brane cosmology keywords in the pertinent forums of arXiv and then do tallies by month or year after excluding false positive search results manually. A related trick would be to make a list of authors of papers that were responsive to the keywords and then look at both the tallies by month or year of brane cosmology papers for each author, and also to look at the total number of papers per year from a particular author and then make a chart of the percentage of that author's output that was in brane cosmology over time. If there are big explosions in output or sudden collapses in output at some point, you would want to focus on well cited papers at the transition point which might have triggered the increased or declining levels of interest.

    Another way to get at it would be to look at the proportion of string theory and cosmology papers at annual conferences that are related to brane cosmology over time and to analyze the authorship of those papers from year to year. You'd first need to generate a list of relevant conferences, of course.

    Also, I don't believe that it is possible to do any meaningful analysis of a time frame as short of a couple of years. The total number of brane cosmology papers is small enough that completely random factors are likely to overwhelm trend lines in that time frame. For example, suppose that university X with a rare bounty of three highly productive brane cosmology researchers happens to be hit with a huge surge of theoretical physics majors one year because the faculty advisor for similar research in the math department had terminal cancer and wasn't replaced promptly so everyone changed majors and the theoretical physics faculty had to set aside their research projects to teach extra sections of classes for a couple of years during the temporary surge of enrollment. Something like that at a single university could greatly skew output in the form of conference papers and published articles for the entire subfield for a couple of years for reasons that are not in any way intrinsic to the subfield itself. Or suppose that brane cosmologists all jumped on the 750 GeV particle explanation bandwagon for six months one year before it turned out to be a fluke before going back to their usual research program. I'd think that you'd want at least 5-10 years of data to reveal any meaningful trends, and ideally, longer.
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