Stanford scholars among the most cited

Stanford professors MARK GRANOVETTER and SHOUCHENG ZHANG have been tapped by Thomson Reuters as its 2014 “Citation Laureates.”

Photo of Mark Granovetter
Mark Granovetter

Granovetter is the Joan Butler Ford Professor and Chair of Sociology, and Zhang is the J.G. Jackson and C.J. Wood Professor of Physics.

Thomson Reuters selects its Citation Laureates based in large part on the number of times their work is cited by fellow colleagues. The group looks at high-impact publications, total citation counts, and citations per paper relative to field averages.

For both Zhang and Granovetter, Thomson Reuters found their citation records to be well above the norm.

“As imitation is one of the most sincere forms of flattery, so too are scientific literature citations one of the greatest dividends of a researcher’s intellectual investment,” said Basil Moftah, president of Thomson Reuters IP & Science.

Granovetter was cited for his “pioneering research in economic sociology.” He is best known for his work in social network theory and in economic sociology, particularly his theory on the spread of information in social networks known as “The Strength of Weak Ties.” This particular paper is highly influential in sociology, with more than 27,000 citations. It explains that in marketing, information science, and politics, weak ties enable reaching populations and audiences that are not accessible via strong ties.

Photo of Shoucheng Zhang speaking
Shoucheng Zhang

In the field of economic sociology, Granovetter has been a leader since the publication in 1985 of an article that launched “new economic sociology,” “Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness.” Since then Granovetter has been identified with the concept that economic relations between individuals or firms are embedded in actual social networks and do not exist in an abstract idealized market.

Zhang was cited for “theoretical and experimental research on the quantum spin Hall effect and topological insulators,” sharing the designation with Charles Kane of the University of Pennsylvania and Laurens Molenkamp of the University of Wurzburg, Germany.

Zhang, who is also a physicist at the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science, or SIMES, is cited in particular for making the theoretical prediction for the first topological insulator in mercury-tellurium quantum wells in 2006. Topological insulators are one of the most exciting topics in condensed-matter physics, because of both their conceptual beauty and their exciting practical applications, particularly in integrated circuits to boost computing hardware beyond Moore’s Law.