2005–08 Theme ProjectGetting Connected:
Social Science in the Age of Networks
Back row (Left to Right): David Easley, Jeffrey Prince, John Abowd, Dan Huttenlocher, Larry Blume, Jon Kleinberg, Michael Macy, Geri Gay and Mary Still.
Front Row Sitting (Left to Right): Kathleen O'Connor, H. Ted. Welser, and David Strang.
Photo by Lindsay France, University Photography
The past ten years have witnessed an explosion of popular and academic interest in the study of social and information networks, fueled in part by the growing importance of the Web. Fascination with networks spans the academy, from the natural sciences to the humanities (e.g. www.pierogi2000.com/flatfile/lombardi.html). The 2005 theme project aims to advance the social sciences at Cornell by tapping the expertise, tools, and skills of network analysts across the university, from computer scientists archiving the Web to social psychologists studying adolescent behavior. A series of workshops will bring together network experts and researchers whose substantive applications could benefit from access to the latest methodological advances. Each workshop will focus on a different application, but all will be designed to promote the exchange of theoretical ideas, skills, and methodologies among social, natural, and information scientists working on similar problems but with minimal mutual awareness or appreciation of potential synergies and no common language for communicating ideas or results. Research topics will include:
- Diffusion of innovations, as reflected in the pages of the Web, using the Internet Archive (www.archive.org).
- The importance of adolescent peer networks for educational attainment, deviance, and sexual behavior.
- The complex and dynamic relationship between individual attributes (e.g. personality, opinion, and belief) and network structure and position.
- How the spread of collective action and social movements is affected by network structure.
Beyond these specific topics, the project’s broader aim is to build a culture for collaborative research across disciplines and colleges that will have a lasting impact on social science at Cornell.