South African Cultural Observatory National Conference

Erez Lieberman Aiden Director of the Rice University Culturomics Cultural Observatory, Houston

Quantitative Analysis of Culture

Erez Lieberman Aiden received his PhD from Harvard and MIT in 2010. After several years at Harvard's Society of Fellows and at Google as Visiting Faculty, he became Assistant Professor of Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Rice University. Recognised around the world for his contribution to science, medicine and cultural change, Aiden is a renowned inventor, scientist and academic, and has been lauded as ‘America’s brightest young academic’.

Together with Jean-Baptiste Michel, Prof Aiden developed Google’s Ngram Viewer, a tool used by millions of people every day to probe cultural change by exploring the frequency of words and phrases in texts printed as far back as the 1500s. Aiden will be discussing his analysis of the collection of digitized texts which includes approximately 8% of all books ever published. He will survey the vast terrain of ‘culturomics’ and argue that an examination of the linguistic and cultural phenomenon reflected in the language of these texts can provide significant insights into the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, the pursuit of fame, censorship, and historical epidemiology.

Dr. Aiden's research has won numerous awards, including recognition for one of the top 20 "Biotech Breakthroughs that will Change Medicine", by Popular Mechanics, membership in Technology Review's 2009 TR35, recognizing the top 35 innovators under 35; and in Cell's 2014 40 Under 40. His work has been featured on the front page of the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, and the Houston Chronicle. One of his talks has been viewed over 1 million times at Three of his research papers have appeared on the cover of Nature and Science. In 2012, he received the President's Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, the highest government honor for young scientists, from Barack Obama. In 2014, Fast Company called him ‘America's brightest young academic’. In 2015, his laboratory was recognized on the floor of the US House of Representatives for its discoveries about the structure of DNA.

Read the Abstract of Erez Lieberman Aiden

Erez Lieberman Aiden

Erez Lieberman Aiden

Cultural Observatory issues call for National Conference papers

January 31, 2017: THE SOUTH African Cultural Observatory (SACO) today announced the theme for its national conference of the arts, heritage and culture sectors.

2016 National Conference Highlights

Watch the SACO 'National Conference 2016 - Counting Culture' highlights video featuring interviews with some of the speakers and participants; and conference insights and lessons.

About the South African Cultural Observatory

Led by the Department of Arts and Culture, and hosted by NMMU, the SACO is a statistical research institute which charts the impact of the cultural and creative industries in South Africa.

Address: 21-23 Donkin Street, Donkin Creative Precinct, Central, Port Elizabeth
Tel: +27 (0)41 504 4930