Erez Lieberman Aiden discusses culturomics and Big Data in the Robert D. Alexander Lecture in the Liberal Arts



On Thursday, March 31, scientist and mathematician Dr. Erez Lieberman Aiden will present the third Robert D. Alexander Lecture in the Liberal Arts. His talk, “The Quantitative Analysis of Culture,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom, 2901 Stadium Drive.

Aiden is the third speaker in the lecture series, which focuses largely on the phenomenon of Big Data. “Big Data is everywhere and generated by virtually every transaction, exchange of information, or social interaction that can be digitally captured,” said F. Andrew Schoolmaster, dean of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts. “It is part of our everyday life and will become more important going forward into the future.”

A series of workshops will follow Friday, April 1, in the Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom with presentations from Dr. Brian Calfano, associate professor of political science at Missouri State University; Dr. Kyle Walker, director of the Center for Urban Studies at TCU; and Swami Chandrasekaran, executive architect and technical leader at IBM Watson Innovations. The lecture and workshops are free; seating is limited. Reserve your seat here.


Dr. Erez Lieberman Aiden

In his lecture, Aiden will include a survey of “culturomics” focusing on linguistic and cultural phenomena in the English language from 1800-2000. Aiden analyzed nearly five million digitized books by applying data mining techniques, and he discovered a process where irregular verbs become increasingly regular over time. His work contributed to the Google Ngram Viewer, a program released in late 2010 that produces historical trends for any sequence of letters.

Aiden is an assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, a former Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows and visiting faculty member at Google. Using mathematical and computational approaches, he has studied evolution in a range of contexts, including that of networks and languages for culturomics. In 2009, he was named one of 35 Top Innovators Under 35 by Technology Review, and in 2011, he was one of the recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.




Robert D. Alexander Lecture and Workshop Schedule

March 31–Lecture

7:30 p.m.

Robert D. Alexander Lecture in the Liberal Arts

April 1–Workshop

8 a.m.  


8:30-10 a.m.

Social Media as the Big Data Portal: Options for Design and Analysis

Calfano will focus on the use of social media platforms for the collection and analysis of Big Data in political research.

10:30 a.m.-Noon

Studying Cities with Municipal Open Data

Walker will discuss how he uses Big Data to make information available to consumers. From building ages in a city to immigrant pathways across the U.S. to cardiovascular disease or the impact of smoke-free air ordinances in Texas, Big Data can provide trends and answers.

Noon-1:30 p.m.


1:30-3 p.m.

Innovation and Inspiration through Cognitive Computing

Chandrasekaran will examine how industries such health care, higher education and consumer retail are using cognitive computing to obtain competitive advantages.

About the Robert D. Alexander Lecture in the Liberal Arts

The Robert D. Alexander Lecture in the Liberal Arts is sponsored by the AddRan College of Liberal Arts, with generous support from the Robert D. and Catherine J. Alexander Foundation. To learn more about the AddRan College of Liberal Arts, visit

For more information, contact Kim Gore at or 817-257-6163.