Physics and Astronomy: Getting Duller Every Year

By Julianne Dalcanton | November 20, 2007 5:25 pm

Through the magic of Google Trends, we now must face the brutal truth. No one cares. Or at least, about half as many people care now the fraction of people who care is now half as many as four years ago:

physics_trends.jpg

astronomy_trends.jpg

Now, it turns out that this isn’t quite as big deal as one might think. It turns out that people just care less about everything, at least in terms of metrics that Google can track. Pretty much every generic search term I could think of showed similar declines, which leaves me wondering what people are doing now instead of googling for information. Heading straight to Wikipedia or blogs?

wikipedia_trends.jpg

Seems so! More interesting to me were the seasonal variations in science-y searches:

science_trends.jpg

It seems that no one cares about science during the Christmas season, what with all the shopping and downing of eggnog. However, when you notice the drop during summers, it’s clear that a fair fraction of the “science” googling is school related. Amusing also is the end-of-semester desperation that sets in among our budding young plagarists:

termpaper_trends.jpg

Finally, a big shout out to all my homies on the pacific rim (in so much as a middle-aged white lady geek with kids can have “homies”). Apparently, while astronomy is just not that interesting any more, at least it’s big locally:

astronomy_trend_locations.jpg

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science and Society
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