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April 11, 2011

Monday Morning Memeogram: Words of Space

by brainoids

It’s been a little while since creating a new memeogram, so to get back in the groove, I’ll pick a crossover topic: space.

Mandatory refresher training: these memeograms plot the year at which a given word or phrase peaks in frequency within the Google Books database.

If there’s a story to this graphic, it is that apparently there have been three “eras” of publishing on space-related topics: early in the space race (early 1960s), in the wake of Challenger (late 1980s) and millennial (turn of the century).  Perhaps as surprising as the peaks are the chasms in between them.   To be sure, space-related terms were still being published in these years, but almost no terms (old or new) reached their peak frequency during the 1970s or 1990s.

After a supernova. For reals.

On a more positive note, the flourishing of publishing on the space sciences (astrophysics and heliophysics shaded yellow, planetary science and astrobiology shaded blue) after the 1990’s is notable.   With the launch of the great observatories (Hubble, Compton, Spitzer, Chandra) and major planetary missions such as Galileo (Jupiter), Cassini (Saturn) and the Mars rovers, popular knowledge and attention apparently engaged accordingly.

But I digress pedantically.   Memeograms are meant to be fun, not to educate!   Check out the full image below, or download the PDF:   Memeogram_Space.

Read more from Memeograms, Space

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