Human dynamics: Darwin and Einstein correspondence patterns
In an era when letters were the main means of exchanging scientific ideas and results, Charles Darwin (1809–82) and Albert Einstein (1879–1955) were notably prolific correspondents. But did their patterns of communication differ from those associated with the instant-access e-mail of modern times? Here we show that, although the means have changed, the communication dynamics have not: Darwin's and Einstein's patterns of correspondence and today's electronic exchanges follow the same scaling laws. However, the response times of their surface-mail communication is described by a different scaling exponent from e-mail communication, providing evidence for a new class of phenomena in human dynamics.