III.7 Mapping the Universe: Space. Time. Discovery!

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Chaomei Chen

Jian Zhang

Michael S. Vogeley

J. Richard Gott, III

Mario Juric

Lisa Kershner

Created by information scientists Chaomei Chen and Jian Zhang, graphic designer Lisa Kershner, and astrophysicists Michael S. Vogeley, J. Richard Gott III, and Mario Juric, this map represents space, time, and our discoveries of phenomena in both. The image depicts 1) a circular map of the entire universe selectively annotated with discovery dates and the durations of accelerated citation growth; 2) a time spiral of emergent themes from astronomical literature specifically related to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS); and 3) an evolving network of novel topics. More than 600,000 astronomical objects, including some of the most distant quasars discovered by the SDSS, are placed on the map according to their right ascension and the natural logarithm of their distance from Earth. Short-term predictions of research trends can be made by linear extrapolation of the current average citation acceleration rate in the SDSS literature of 3.17 years with a standard deviation of 1.8 years. Candidates for points of growth in the near future are suggested in the network and the time spiral.


Chen, Chaomei and R.J. Paul. 2001. “Visualizing a Knowledge Domain’s Intellectual Structure.” IEEE Computer 34 (3): 65-71.

Chen, Chaomei. 2006. “CiteSpace II: Detecting and Visualizing Emerging Trends and Transient Patterns in Scientific Literature.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 57 (3): 359–377.

Chen, Chaomei, Jian Zhang, Weizhong Zhu, and Michael S. Vogeley. 2007. “Delineating the Citation Impact of Scientific Discoveries.” Paper presented at the IEEE/ACM Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, Vancouver, Canada, June 17–22.

Chen, Chaomei, Jian Zhang, Lisa Kershner, Michael S. Vogeley, J. Richard Gott III, and Mario Juric. 2007. Mapping the Universe: Space, Time, Discovery! Courtesy of Drexel University and Princeton University. In “3rd Iteration (2007): The Power of Forecasts,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and
Julie M. Davis. http://scimaps.org.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.