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Facts Change All the Time, Says Science Speaker Samuel Arbesman. (And That’s a Fact!)
Science | September 05, 2012

Facts Change All the Time, Says Science Speaker Samuel Arbesman. (And That’s a Fact!)

Samuel Arbesman—a network scientist, author, and new Lavin exclusive speaker—is an expert in scientometrics, literally the science of science: how we know what we know. Arbesman has gained renown as a science speaker recently for his years of research into a very interesting—ahem—fact: that everything we deem to be empirically true is constantly changing and evolving.

As facts change and fluctuate, more questions rise about what we know: Is the overturn of knowledge speeding up—or slowing down? Are we even capable of processing all of the new facts cropping up every day? In his new book, The Half-Life of Facts, and on stage, Arbesman unpacks this process of factual evolution. While it might seem a daunting truth that practically nothing is set in stone, we are, in fact, able to chart and prepare for these changes. “Facts change in regular and mathematically understandable ways,” Arbesman says. “Even though knowledge changes...facts have a half-life and obey mathematical rules. And only by knowing the pattern of our knowledge's evolution can we be better prepared for its change.” Arbesman’s talks have a deep implication for just about any audience—from college students to the heads of research and innovation at major corporations.

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