Friday 27 November 2009

Mark Newman is a physicist and mathematician whose research is focused on the structure of complex networks, from epidemiology to social relationships. The below diagram is taken from his 2000 paper on scientific coauthorship networks, and is a wonderful illustration of the small-world model (as famously typified in Erdös and Bacon numbers).

As well as his prolific research output, Newman is also co-author of The Atlas of the Real World, which distorts the standard Mercator projection to illustrate localized weightings of various statistics. It's not the most aesthetically enduring of techniques, but is effective in its aims. The HIV prevalence map, with its flattened upper hemisphere, is particularly haunting.