Most people who've done an astronomy course will have heard of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. It was developed to show the relationships between the temperature (or colour) of a star and its luminosity. The other week I saw a tweet referring to someone as an "astronomy media star". This interesting stellar classification got me thinking about an alternative version of the H-R diagram. In my alternate reality I imagined a version classifying astronomers* and so, after a little consultation with other astronomers (thanks Sarah, Tess, Mike, Paul and Amanda) and some free time**, I present...
For those wanting technical details, the data for the red stars comes from NASA's ADS/SPIRES-HEP (limited to peer review) and searching for the person's name (in quotation marks) on Google. Both numbers are affected by name-sake contamination and the Google-dance/search customisation adds to the uncertainty on the y-axis. Update 2010-07-22T11:10:00 UT: It turns out that Google gives wildly different results depending on which Google you are connected to. Being in the UK I was automatically redirected to google.co.uk and that is where these numbers come from. Google.com seems to produce more search results. I may re-make this plot using Google.com as the standard.
If anyone has the time to properly classify a few hundred astronomers you are welcome to do that and send me the data!
* I know Brian Cox is technically a particle physicist but he is the Sun Professor which makes him almost a solar physicist ;-)
** Internet-based diversions such as this usually result in people saying "he has too much free time". That is not entirely inaccurate.