A Brief History of Human Time

A Brief History of Human Time

Exploring a database of “notable people”
  • @Kristian Bjornard/CC-BY/FlickR@Kristian Bjornard/CC-BY/FlickR

Etienne Wasmer, permanent faculty member of the Sciences Po's Department of economics and co-director of LIEPP, has co-authored with Olivier Gergaud (KEDGE Business School and LIEPP) and Morgane Laquenan  (LIEPP) the first paper to analyze a very, very, very big database aptly called « A Brief History of Time ».

The paper describes a database of 1,243,776 notable people and 7,184,575 locations associated with them throughout human history (3000 BCE-2015 AD) and then sets out to analyze it.

What are the characteristics of historical individuals or, as the authors prefer, « notable people » ? How can they be mapped, i.e. where are they to be found throughout the course of their own lives and over time? And how may they be associated (or not) to city growth?

The entire story


The Brief History of Time database is the fruit of an intensive two-year institutional collaboration between SciencesPo’s Atelier de Cartographie, médialab and the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies, (LIEPP),  and the joint effort of Etienne Wasmer, Olivier Gergaud and Morgane Laouenan.

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