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How you get from Albert Einstein to Ray Bradbury

March 30, 2009 |  7:41 am


The folks at Google Blogoscoped (via Make magazine) have been poking around in the semi-secret upcoming features at Google, and the diagram above is the result. They call it the Wonder Wheel. It's a visual representation of interrelated search terms. In addition to what you see here, there are options to narrow and sort the results by time period or format, like video. I'm just glad that the tech guru who was testing the new technology was thinking about science writer Carl Sagan when he tried it out.

As you can see, Carl Sagan is quite a connector. People searching for Carl Sagan also searched for real scientists like Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins -- some even were hoping to find Carl Sagan's books. It seems Carl Sagan has a fairly literary following: They also searched for science fiction author Isaac Asimov, who sparked searches for other authors -- Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury.

So that's the path: Albert Einstein to Carl Sagan to Isaac Asimov to Ray Bradbury.

If only the Wonder Wheel were rolled out for general use. Who comes after Ray Bradbury? What overlap do they have with those who come after Arthur C. Clarke? When do next-generation science fiction authors begin to surface? This is the kind of toy -- I mean tool! -- we could use for hours.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Image: Make magazine