Two Cultures in New Science Map

Students can find it hard to know what areas of science are actively researched, especially since much of what is taught is so ancient and established (But Physics A Level now has a token Quantum Physics section, and that's less than a hundred years old!). A new study may help.

The PLoS ONE online journal has a paper presenting a map constructed from over a billion user interactions logged by journals' web portals (so-called clickstream data). The result is a beautiful whirlpool shaped image, showing the links between different research areas throughout the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

click to go to a large versionClick to go to the larger version.

There is a worryingly large gap between the sciences and the humanities; Snow's Two Cultures are alive and well worldwide, and not just in Britain, since the data used is global. The Royal Institution is holding a lecture this week entitled CP Snow's 'Two cultures': 50 years of debate. Bath psychologist Professor Helen Hast will “explore the paradoxes of "value freedom" within such a highly morally-charged perception of both the pursuit and purposes of science - and some resistances to it.”

The RI page for the talk says that the is good availability for tickets. Quite so.

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