Divide and concur: A physics paper with 5,154 authors

A physics paper with 5,154 authors is the newest reached pinnacle in people’s drive to divide and concur, when there’s credit to be had. Those 5,154 physicists stand a-write on the collective shoulders of the 976 physicians who shared the 1993 Ig Nobel Prize for literature.

topolThat 1993 Ig Nobel prize was awarded to Eric Topol [pictured here], R. Califf, F. Van de Werf, P. W. Armstrong, and their 972 co-authors, for publishing a medical research paper which has one hundred times as many authors as pages. [The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 329, no. 10, September 2, 1993, pp. 673–82.]

The new, 5,154 physicist paper is: “Combined Measurement of the Higgs Boson Mass in pp Collisions at √ s = 7 and 8 TeV with the ATLAS and CMS Experiments,” G. Aad et al. [5,154 authors total] (ATLAS Collaboration), (CMS Collaboration), Physical Review Letters, 114, 191803, published 14 May 2015.

Davide Castelvecci, writing solo in Nature News, gives an appreciation of the 5,154:

Physics paper sets record with more than 5,000 authors
Detector teams at the Large Hadron Collider collaborated for a more precise estimate of the size of the Higgs boson.

A physics paper with 5,154 authors has — as far as anyone knows — broken the record for the largest number of contributors to a single research article.

Only the first nine pages in the 33-page article, published on 14 May in Physical Review Letters, describe the research itself — including references. The other 24 pages list the authors and their institutions.

The article is the first joint paper from the two teams that operate ATLAS and CMS, two massive detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland. Each team is a sprawling collaboration involving researchers from dozens of institutions and countries….

Here is the beginning of the new paper’s list of 5,154 co-authors, most of whom are still alive [according to the paper itself, not all of them are]:



BONUS: A fun calculation for you to perform with friends: How many minutes it would that take to read aloud the complete list of 5,154 co-authors?

BONUS: Another report in Nature News, published two days earlier than “Physics paper sets record with more than 5,000 authors”): “Fruit-fly paper has 1,000 authors