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Researcher Says Science Is Very Social

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A representation of a simple social network.

Researchers are studying the cognitive aspects of social networks, to find the next revolution in social science.

Credit: DaoMuCun

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's (RPI) Social Cognitive Network Academic Research Center (SCNARC) is conducting social network analysis, network discovery, and network dynamics research to study the cognitive aspects of social networks. SCNARC researchers say they are using computers to find the next revolution of social science.

"We can make precise object measurements of our social activities and that gives us a new level of data, so-called big data, to analyze," says RPI professor Bolek Szymanski. His research is similar to mapping the human genome, but with human behavior using measurements of what people do on social networks.

The researchers also are studying how to use social media to attract more young people to the sciences. "The future of the U.S. depends on innovation and we need to attract more young people to the sciences," Szymanski says. "Science is very social. It's all about inspiring each other and collaborating."

Szymanski's SCNARC research team includes seven professors, five postdoctoral researchers, 25 graduate students, and several undergraduates.


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