Royal Society Comparative Trajectories Prototype 2

Royal Society

Motivation and Methodology
The Idea
Our notion of science brings together the elements to theory, experimentation, material apparatus and also a narrative a progress. While it strives to be objective, it can't help but be biographical, because all these elements are contained within the life of the scientist. This project casts the biographical unit of the scientist as a fundamental unit of scientific history.

Below are two different organizational structures of the Royal Society, the left from its establishment in 1660 and the right from today. These paint very different pictures of not only how the Royal Society evaluates scientific merit, but also the compositions of larger scientific communities as well. These visualizations attempt to connect the two different pictures through the network of scientists.

1660 2013
Astronomy Mathematics, Computer Science
Divinity Astronomy and Physics
Geometry Chemistry
Law Earth Sciences
Music Biology
Physics Developmental biology
Rhetoric Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
Organismal, evolutionary and ecological science
Health and human sciences

Project Research Goals
The visualization aims to examine disciplinary evolution in the scientific community through the lens of the Royal Society. It also serves to contextualize these disciplinary distinctions by connecting these disciplines through the scientists' recommendations to their historical origins.

1. Connect the founding disciplinary sections of the royal society with the current in order to better understand how contemporary scientific disciplines come into being.
2. Compare the historical trajectories of the different scientific disciplines that make up the society.
3. Compare the narrative structures of historical projects that overlap with the Royal Society network. Provide a base graph for comparisons to adjacent datasets. See Darwin example
4. Develop the idea of comparing trajectories of information in the form of time-series network graphs and subgraphs.

Paper coming soon.
Further Experiments in progress are not yet interactive.
Images and notes PDF here

The Data
8134 Fellows
55239 Proposal Relationships
Spans Years 1730 - 1960
All data from the Royal Society official records
This visualization is based on the membership records of the Royal Society, the oldest continuous scientific society in the world. All society fellows are proposed internally; new fellows must be nominated by current members for admission. Once accepted, these fellows then make nominations of their own, thus creating a network of nominations.