Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture: Maximilian Schich

5:30pm Monday, November 17, 2014 The Commons

Schich Through his teaching, Schich seeks to explore and nurture Multidisciplinary Approaches in Arts and Technology as well as various aspects of Cultural Science, a collaborative process that embraces humanistic inquiry, physics, computer science, and information design in a single coherent workflow. For more information about Maximilian Schich, visit his website:

A Network Framework of Cultural History

The emergent processes driving cultural history are a product of complex interactions among large numbers of individuals, determined by difficult-to-quantify historical conditions. To characterize these processes we have reconstructed aggregate intellectual mobility over two millennia through the birth and death locations of more than 150,000 notable individuals. The tools of network and complexity theory were then used to identify characteristic statistical patterns and determine the cultural and historical relevance of deviations. The resulting network of locations provides a macroscopic perspective of cultural history, which helps us to retrace cultural narratives of Europe and North America using large-scale visualization and quantitative dynamical tools and to derive historical trends of cultural centers beyond the scope of specific events or narrow time intervals. SCIENCE paper and NATURE video: An Art Historian by training, Maximilian Schich brings together hermeneutics, information visualization, computer science, and physics to understand and better explain art, history, and culture. Through his research, he explores the nature and emergence of complexity in the arts and humanities using an approach that combines quantitative analysis and visualization with hermeneutic interpretation, which sets the base for collaborations that aim to model and simulate previously hidden phenomena.

Of interest to:
General Public
Data & Democracy, Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture