In 2009, Popular Science worked with Google to digitize the magazine’s archives back to its inception in 1872, transforming 1,563 issues into mineable data. By counting the frequency of every word in a 1.35-gigabyte file containing the full text from those issues, data visualizers Jer Thorp and Mark Hansen capture the rise and fall of technological trends throughout the magazine’s history.
On this page, created by Pitch Interactive, you can search for any single word and see how many times it appeared in each issue of Popular Science since 1872. Click any date to see the number of times your word appeared in that copy of the magazine; then click the cover if you want to read the entire issue in our complete scanned-in archive. The Animate button allows you to view your search results spiraling outward, from the magazine's creation to the present day.
Graphic by Pitch Interactive