Monday, July 20, 2009

Googling Us

I ran into an old friend from high school on Saturday that I haven't seen in years. We chatted for a bit but then I had to run. I gave her my e-mail address so that we could keep in touch but I also told her that if she forgot the e-mail, she could find me on my department website.

That got me thinking, how easy am I to find online? I have been told that when applying for post-docs or faculty positions you should try to have some link to your research come up within the first ten hits when you search for your name (or your name + "physics") on Google. I decided to try us all out and here are the results, in order of Google rank):

1 (tie): Jared - Jared's blogger profile is the #1 result when Google looks for Jared Greenwalds. Interestingly, that beats out a British meteorologist's reseach page.

1 (tie): Ryan - Searching for Ryan Tanner is a lost cause but "Ryan Tanner physics" brings up Ryan's smiling face on the very out-of-date BYU physics theory page as the top result.

1 (tie): Laren - The first result for Laren is his spring 2008 office hours schedule.

4: Joe - Joe's other blog comes in at #2 when I search for Joseph Smidt.

5: Me - The #8 result for "Nicholas Nelson" is a poster I presented at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC-Santa Barbara last summer.

6: Bill - Neither "Bill Evans" or "Bill Evans physics" produces a result related to Bill in the first 10 hits. Better luck next time.


  1. Pay no attention to "my other blog". It serves two purposes:

    1. I wanted to give wordpress a try so needed an experimental blog. As I said earlier, it has a ton more features but blogger is directly connected with Google and we are used to it.

    2. I helped package a bunch of scientific python packages for Fedora since I wanted them to work on some of the Fedora machines we have at school. I was made a member of their community and needed a blog that would get aggregated on their Planet blog: I thought this blog got a little too much non-Fedora traffic to aggregate this one.

    Other then that I consider this my true blog whether or not Google prefers it.

  2. If you recall I've done the same thing with Ubuntu. For example, if you remember, I packed Texmaker so there would be a nice GUI latex editor to use.

    Now I just use Vi so no more packaging texmaker for me. :)

  3. Try searching my pseudonym "Quantumleap42". I have a monopoly on that one.

  4. First of all, you have to admit that my name is a bit more common than most, so I'd hardly consider it a fair shot.

    Secondly, searching for "William Evans physics" shows me at #3 and #6, while "William R. Evans physics" shows me at #2-#4. Also, ""William R. Evans" physics" puts me at #1 and #2. (It's all about the quotes.)

    Anyways, I guess the moral of the story for me is, when applying for positions, apply as William rather than Bill.

  5. I stand corrected Bill. In fact, if I search for Nick Nelson I don't get any hits related to me. That means that you would be in 5th and I take up last place. Sorry for the mistake.

  6. I'm not trying to point out mistakes. Frankly, I just feel bad that I missed out on getting or (both of which are funny how unrelated they are). Anyways, as always, great post!


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