Filippo Radicchi

Defining and Identifying Sleeping Beauties in Science

Date: September 25, 2015

Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Room: Wells Library, Room 030


Scientific papers typically have a finite lifetime: their rate to attract citations achieves its maximum a few years after publication, and then steadily declines. Previous studies pointed out the existence of a few blatant exceptions: papers whose relevance has not been recognized for decades, but then suddenly become highly influential and cited. The Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen “paradox” paper is an exemplar Sleeping Beauty. We study how common Sleeping Beauties are in science. We introduce a quantity that captures both the recognition intensity and the duration of the “sleeping” period, and show that Sleeping Beauties are far from exceptional. The distribution of such quantity is continuous and has power-law behavior, suggesting a common mechanism behind delayed but intense recognition at all scales.


Filippo Radicchi is Assistant Professor at the Center of Complex Systems and Networks Research (CNetS, at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing. He received a M.Sc. in Physics at University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Italy, and a Ph.D. in Physics at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. Before joining IU, he has been Research Scientist at ISI Foundation in Turin, Italy, Research Specialist in the Amaral Laboratory at Northwestern University, and “Ramon y Cajal” senior researcher at the department of Chemical Engineering of the University “Rovira i Virgili” in Tarragona, Spain. Dr. Radicchi’s research activity focuses on the application of methods and tools of statistical physics to the study of complex systems and networks. Homepage: