Google Books New Ngram Tool

Google has a great new tool that allows you to see how frequently a word sequence occurred in books that they have scanned as a function of time. Naturally, with my focus on reducing the risk posed by nuclear weapons, I input “nuclear weapons” and here’s what I found:

As you’d expect, there were almost no occurrences of that 2-gram prior to 1945. Recent interest in the subject is roughly half of what it was in the late 1980’s, when strong public concern forced politicians to take action on the issue. Contrast that with today, when even the modest New START Treaty has been used as a political football by some to squeeze out concessions on increased funding for the nuclear weapons labs. (As an aside, there was a report tonight that, finally, the treaty appears to have enough votes for ratification.)

Google has more information on how to use this new tool. Enjoy!

About Martin Hellman

I am a professor at Stanford University, best known for my invention of public key cryptography -- the technology that protects the secure part of the Internet, such as electronic banking. But, since 1982, my primary interest has been how fallible human beings can survive possessing nuclear weapons, where even one mistake could be catastrophic. My latest project is a book, co-written with my wife Dorothie, with the audacious subtitle "Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet." It's on Amazon and a free PDF can be downloaded from its website:
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4 Responses to Google Books New Ngram Tool

  1. Prof. Hellman,

    You might be interested in my forthcoming book which gives respectful attention to your risk calculations. You can find the book described here:
    and I’ll send you a galley if you send an address to the email above.

    Ron Rosenbaum

    • Guess your site deletes web links so I should mention the title of the book in which I write about your risk analysis. It’ s called and will be published by Simon&Schuster on March 1. The website has the same title as the book.

  2. Ron,

    Thanks for that post. People can reach your web site by clicking on your name, just to the right of your picture. Once there, they’ll see “How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III” prominently displayed. Looks like an impressive book. The plaudits from some well recognized names certainly help. I’m sorry you had trouble posting the link. Fortunately, your website is linked very nicely. I am using WordPress’ basic template and that must be part of the limitations. As noted in the instructions just under the box for entering a comment, you can enter a URL via the HTML tag. You need to know how to use the “a href” tag. (I’m afraid to make it too exact, or it might become a link!)

    Thanks also for your efforts to bring greater attention to this critical issue.


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