Top 100 Astronomers By Citation

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How many of the faces above do you recognise? For a long time, I’ve wanted to investigate the the “who’s who” of astronomy via the literature but haven’t had the means. I’ve teamed up with Andy Casey who has written a neat ADS-python module to access the ADS publication database. It is still early days at the moment so we’ve mainly been brainstorming but we figured we should start with the basics: most cited astronomers. There will be more posts to follow as we have more ideas under construction.

For this exercise I just needed the raw list of names and citation count. If you aren’t familiar with the citation system, I suggest you head here. To make it a bit more interesting I’ve piped my results through Google images and used some face recognition code to extract out the astronomer profiles. The initial script to get the list was constructed by Andy and I added some extra features (i.e. face recognition and downloading images from Google). I also wrote some code which scrapes meta-information from websites in which the astronomer appears to get more information than ADS provides. I’ll discuss this more in future posts.

If you clone the initial script and simply add the following snippet, it will search Google images and download the first 3 images it finds.

for j, astronomer in enumerate(most_successful_astronomers, 1):
    searchTerm = astronomer
    searchTerm = searchTerm.replace(' ','%20')
    count= 0
    for i in range(0,1):
        url = ('' +
        #print url
        request = urllib2.Request(url, None, {'Referer': 'testing'})
        response = urllib2.urlopen(request)
        # Get results using JSON
            results = simplejson.load(response)
            data = results['responseData']
            dataInfo = data['results']
        except TypeError:
        for i,myUrl in enumerate(dataInfo):
            if i < numwanted:
                count = count + 1
                except IOError or TypeError:

Without further ado, I present the Top 100 most cited astronomers as of today. Images are shown where Google could find them.

1Spitzer, LymanSpitzer, Lyman23096
2Chandrasekhar, SubrahmanyanChandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan21467
3Hawking, S. W.Hawking, S. W.20456
4Press, William H.Press, William H.20431
5Abramowitz, MiltonAbramowitz, Milton18802
6Peebles, Phillip James EdwinPeebles, Phillip James Edwin15891
7Parker, E. N.Parker, E. N.15649
8Riess, Adam G.Riess, Adam G.14557
9Weinberg, StevenWeinberg, Steven13431
10Draine, B. T.Draine, B. T.13385
11Spergel, D. N.Spergel, D. N.13225
12Goldreich, PeterGoldreich, Peter13174
12*Padmanabhan, T. (updated by request)Padmanabhan, T.13043
13Landau, Lev DavidovichLandau, Lev Davidovich12915
14Toomre, AlarToomre, Alar12894
15Woosley, S. E.Woosley, S. E.12684
16Blandford, R. D.Blandford, R. D.12092
17Osterbrock, Donald E.Osterbrock, Donald E.11707
18Binney, JamesBinney, James11567
19Navarro, Julio F.Navarro, Julio F.11525
20Johnson, Harold L.Johnson, Harold L.10876
21Perlmutter, S.Perlmutter, S.10332
22Komatsu, E.Komatsu, E.10157
23Springel, VolkerSpringel, Volker9690
24Randall, LisaRandall, Lisa9530
25Dressler, A.Dressler, A.9460
26Condon, J. J.Condon, J. J.9211
27Tegmark, MaxTegmark, Max9142
28Anders, EdwardAnders, Edward8973
29Eggen, O. J.Eggen, O. J.8723
30Bekenstein, Jacob D.Bekenstein, Jacob D.8624
31Schlegel, David J.Schlegel, David J.8576
32Linde, A. D.Linde, A. D.8343
33Gunn, James E.Gunn, James E.8296
34Fukugita, M.Fukugita, M.8205
35Rieke, G. H.Rieke, G. H.8200
36Bessell, M. S.Bessell, M. S.7824
37Kurucz, R. L.Kurucz, R. L.7818
38Allen, C. W.Allen, C. W.7789
39Stetson, Peter B.Stetson, Peter B.7736
40Gradshteyn, I. S.Gradshteyn, I. S.7667
41Dziewonski, Adam M.Dziewonski, Adam M.7662
42Davis, M.Davis, M.7352
43Perdew, J. P.Perdew, J. P.7337
44Mihalas, DimitriMihalas, Dimitri7284
45Guth, Alan H.Guth, Alan H.7275
47Harris, William E.Harris, William E.7226
48Sanders, D. B.Sanders, D. B.7215
49Shakura, N. I.Shakura, N. I.7162
50Salpeter, Edwin E.Salpeter, Edwin E.7109
51Landolt, Arlo U.Landolt, Arlo U.6841
52Madau, PieroMadau, Piero6779
53Misner, Charles W.Misner, Charles W.6768
54Bruzual, G.Bruzual, G.6712
55Burstein, D.Burstein, D.6686
56Bennett, C. L.Bennett, C. L.6630
57Cardelli, Jason A.Cardelli, Jason A.6581
58Kroupa, PavelKroupa, Pavel6430
59York, Donald G.York, Donald G.6357
60Eisenstein, Daniel J.Eisenstein, Daniel J.6080
61Moore, BenMoore, Ben6048
62Copeland, Edmund J.Copeland, Edmund J.5956
63Seljak, UrosSeljak, Uros5925
64Bak, PerBak, Per5675
65Balbus, Steven A.Balbus, Steven A.5596
66White, S. D. M.White, S. D. M.5419
67Albrecht, AndreasAlbrecht, Andreas5399
68Freedman, Wendy L.Freedman, Wendy L.5351
69Herzberg, GerhardHerzberg, Gerhard5288
70Abazajian, Kevork N.Abazajian, Kevork N.5261
71Chabrier, GillesChabrier, Gilles5236
72Grevesse, N.Grevesse, N.5235
73King, Ivan R.King, Ivan R.5124
74Antonucci, R.Antonucci, R.5091
75Mathis, J. S.Mathis, J. S.4986
76Fukuda, Y.Fukuda, Y.4968
77Ferrarese, LauraFerrarese, Laura4954
78Shapiro, Stuart L.Shapiro, Stuart L.4888
79Jackson, John DavidJackson, John David4848
80Leitherer, ClausLeitherer, Claus4819
81Perryman, M. A. C.Perryman, M. A. C.4804
82Shu, F. H.Shu, F. H.4749
83Pringle, J. E.Pringle, J. E.4622
84Sze, S. M.Sze, S. M.4594
85Bertin, E.Bertin, E.4505
86Savage, B. D.Savage, B. D.4372
87Gebhardt, KarlGebhardt, Karl4372
88Caldwell, R. R.Caldwell, R. R.4352
89Bethe, H. A.Bethe, H. A.4342
90Mohapatra, Rabindra N.Mohapatra, Rabindra N.4313
91Raymond, J. C.Raymond, J. C.4260
92Novoselov, K. S.Novoselov, K. S.4248
93Skrutskie, M. F.Skrutskie, M. F.4218
94Schechter, P.Schechter, P.4136
95Bohlin, R. C.Bohlin, R. C.4007
96Tremaine, ScottTremaine, Scott3999
97Abell, George O.Abell, George O.3975
98Bardeen, J. M.Bardeen, J. M.3927
99Dickey, J. M.Dickey, J. M.3877
100Mayor, MichelMayor, Michel3847

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