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The Life Cycle of Ideas

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Accurat Collective
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  • Title: The Life Cycle of Ideas
  • Language: English
  • Accurat (Design)

The Life Cycle of Ideas is a visualization we designed for the May 2014 issue of Popular Science magazine. “Every scientific idea has its day.

Theories are born and experiments are designed; results are put to the test, then disproved or accepted as canon. As scientists discuss an idea, they cite the paper that proposed it in their own work. Then, as the conversation moves on, references to the paper drop off. The rise and fall of citations serves to measure the lifespan of a paper’s underlying ideas. Popular Science visualized that pattern across disciplines. Generally, citations peak more quickly today than they did 50 years ago.

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