The intel­lec­tual epi­center of Western civ­i­liza­tion has expanded dra­mat­i­cally over the past 2,000 years. Once cen­tered in Rome and Athens, cul­ture soon spread out to Paris and London, and, even­tu­ally, New York and Hollywood.

In a study pub­lished last week in the journal Sci­ence, researchers from North­eastern Uni­ver­sity mapped the dis­persal of cul­tural his­tory across Europe and North America, showing the boom and bust of var­ious regions over time. They tracked the birth and death loca­tions of more than 150,000 intel­lec­tuals (culled from sev­eral data­bases, including the Gen­eral Artist Lex­icon, the Getty Union List of Artist Names, and Free­base) in Europe and America over the span of the last two mil­lennia. They then visu­al­ized the results by map­ping the geo­graph­ical tra­jec­to­ries of these artists and thinkers over their life­time, marking birth places in blue and death places in red.

Read the article at Fast Company →