A Mathematical Theory of Fame
 M. V. Simkin,
 V. P. Roychowdhury
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We study empirically how the fame of WWI fighterpilot aces, measured in numbers of web pages mentioning them, is related to their achievement, measured in numbers of opponent aircraft destroyed. We find that on the average fame grows exponentially with achievement; the correlation coefficient between achievement and the logarithm of fame is 0.72. The number of people with a particular level of achievement decreases exponentially with the level, leading to a powerlaw distribution of fame. We propose a stochastic model that can explain the exponential growth of fame with achievement. Next, we hypothesize that the same functional relation between achievement and fame that we found for the aces holds for other professions. This allows us to estimate achievement for professions where an unquestionable and universally accepted measure of achievement does not exist. We apply the method to Nobel Prize winners in Physics. For example, we obtain that Paul Dirac, who is a hundred times less famous than Einstein contributed to physics only two times less. We compare our results with Landau’s ranking.
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 Title
 A Mathematical Theory of Fame
 Journal

Journal of Statistical Physics
Volume 151, Issue 12 , pp 319328
 Cover Date
 20130401
 DOI
 10.1007/s1095501206775
 Print ISSN
 00224715
 Online ISSN
 15729613
 Publisher
 Springer US
 Additional Links
 Topics
 Keywords

 Fame achievement stochastic
 Industry Sectors
 Authors

 M. V. Simkin ^{(1)}
 V. P. Roychowdhury ^{(1)}
 Author Affiliations

 1. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 900951594, USA