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Although I'm sure most people are tired of this discussion, for obvious
reasons I feel compelled to point out that physicists and social
scientists working together is not new to social network analysis.  I
believe a keynote address in 1997 by Bernard and Killworth covering
their (at that time) 25 year collaboration is evidence of this.

chris

Chris McCarty, Survey Director
University of Florida Survey Research Center
Bureau of Economic and Business Research
PO Box 117145
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL  32611-7145
Phone: (352) 392-2908 x101
FAX: (352) 392-4739

-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Bienenstock Elisa
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 3:13 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: All Networks Look the Same?

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Thank you for explaining why physicists do not read the social science
literature. Since most of the social scientists on the list have been
closely following the work that is being done in Physics on the topic I
am sure it never occurred to many of us that our research in the area
would be considered prohibitively demanding. Maybe in the future those
of us who publish in social science journals should try to make our work
more accessible.

On the second point, you might be right again: some interesting insights
might emerge from the "interface between the two approaches". Maybe
there is some interesting research that could be done on why that might
be?

-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Leon Danon
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 6:44 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: All Networks Look the Same?

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I think that the movie actor database network is a particularly bad
example of a social network studied by physicists/computer scientists.
Others have been studied and show just these types of fat-tailed
distributions. For example: the scientist co-authorship network of
Newman, the e-mail interchange network (Guimera et al. Eckmann et al.)
or the PGP trust network. In these cases I think it is difficult to
argue that the link definition does not represent a real interaction.

I think that there are two main reasons as to why people from social
science and physicists dont interact as much as they should. The first
is
conceptual: the physics approach to networks centers on the global
properties and large scale organisation, while the social science
approach is more individual based. Therefore physicists tend to study
datasets with large numbers of nodes, while sociologists are content
studying smaller networks.  The other reason is educational. As a
physicist, I find it much more demanding to read a sociology paper than
I do reading a physics paper and I'm sure it's the case the other way
around. I also think that the some really interesting research is/will
be right at the interface between the two approaches.

Leon

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