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TextArc Visualization of The History of Science
W. Bradford Paley
Project Description:
For the "Places & Spaces: Mapping Science" exhibition W. Bradford Paley approached making a map of science indirectly, by making a map of a book describing The History of Science. In this way, he leveraged the intelligent organization by Henry Smith Williams (the history's author): this map was created more to take advantage of a culturally recognized way of organizing science than to invent a new one. The history's first two volumes are organized strictly historically, so as the book wraps around the right side of the ellipse it is organized as a time line. The next two volumes distinguish two major domains - making two time lines - for more recent scientific exploration: the physical sciences (along the bottom left) and the life sciences (top left). Since the scattered words are pulled toward the places where they are used in the text, structure emerges: names of individuals appear along the outside, as they are usually mentioned in only one or two places, and concepts that are common to science of all eras (e.g., system, theory, experiment) are pulled to the center, as they are mentioned everywhere.

This map will be on display at the NYPL Science, Industry, and Business Library, New York, as part of the "Places & Spaces: Mapping Science" exhibition, from April 3rd - August 31st, 2006.

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