He’s a man with a ton of titles — Prince of Peace, Son of God, Shepherd of Souls — but now Jesus has one more: the biggest name in human history. Ever.
So say the authors of a startling new book, "Who’s Bigger: Where Historical Figures Really Rank," which tries to settle, once and for all, the question of who’s who.
It’s a work of "culturometrics," a fancy term to describe quantitative data analysis applied to individuals in society the same way Sabermetrics tracks performance in baseball, pundits aggregate polls in elections, and algorithms rule computer search engines.
"Bigger" is a complex collection of lists and rankings, but none is more provocative than its Top 100: Jesus is No. 1, Adolf Hitler is No. 7, virtually all are white and 97 are male.
But keep your blood pressure in check. "Bigger does not mean better," said co-author Steven Skiena, a computer science professor at Stony Brook University where he heads the Data Science Laboratory.
To research "Bigger," Skiena and Charles Ward, an engineer on the ranking team at Google, created a complex amalgam of measures. To establish their "significance" ranking, they assessed more than 800,000 names, calculated scores of celebrity and achievement or gravitas and then factored in how long, and how long ago, someone lived.
Hence the Top 10 names need no introduction:
4. William Shakespeare
5. Abraham Lincoln
6. George Washington
7. Adolf Hitler
9. Alexander the Great
10. Thomas Jefferson
Where things get really curious is moving down the list:
• Protestant reformer Martin Luther (No. 17) is just above Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
• Elvis Presley (No. 69) is notched between Socrates and William the Conqueror.
• King Arthur (No. 85), who may be a myth, tops Michelangelo.Next Page >
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