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The Data Blog: On the Bosworth Score

Foreground: yellow and green leafed tree with lamp posts on either side. Background: brown building with large arch in center. 2-story tower above arch.
East Pyne Hall with tree changing colors in front.
Louisa Gheorghita / The Daily Princetonian

The Daily Princetonian’s analysis of Google Trends revealed which University professors have the highest public profile. The ‘Prince’ uses a scale of a professor’s public profile which uses their Google search results over the past 13 years, scaled to the average number of searches for President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 in the same period of time, colloquially known as Bosworth scores. For example, a faculty member with a Bosworth score of five has been searched an average of five times as much as Eisgruber has over the course of the past 13 years. Many of the faculty members have more prominent namesakes, making it difficult to disentangle their Google search results. Data writers break down interesting correlations with Bosworth scores.

Princeton football is the most searched sport – not basketball


By Andrew Bosworth, Assistant Data Editor

Princeton football is the University’s most searched sports team since 2010, followed by the basketball team. Despite the men’s basketball team advancing further than the women’s team in the NCAA March Madness tournament this past March, the women’s team has won more title wins and has had a higher average Bosworth score since 2010.

The ‘Prince’ analyzed the average of a variant of the Bosworth score measuring sport names rather than people and percentages of titles won between September 2010 and November 2023. “General sports” refers to searches for the Princeton sport without the term “men’s” or “women’s.”

Many of Princeton’s women’s sports that have high Bosworth scores have won a correspondingly high percentage of Ivy League titles within the past 10 years. However, despite having won the highest percent of Ivy League titles among women and men’s sports respectively, women’s open rowing and men’s cross country each have a Bosworth score of zero.

Basketball is the Princeton varsity sport with the second highest Bosworth score, averaging a score of 77.4. Between the men’s and women’s basketball teams, Princeton has won 50 percent of Ivy League titles in basketball since the 2010–2011 season. Most of the searches for these teams came this past March, when both the men’s and women’s basketball teams reached the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament March Madness by winning Ivy Madness.


We examined searches for “Princeton Men’s Basketball,” “Princeton Women’s Basketball,” and “Princeton Basketball” in March 2023. As searches for the teams could not be directly compared to searches for Eisgruber due to the high volume of searches, the ‘Prince’ scaled their searches to searches of Brooke Shields ’87, Princeton’s most prominent alumna in the entertainment industry, whose Bosworth prime score was converted to a Bosworth score for this time range. A Bosworth score was then calculated to scale searches for these terms to searches for Eisgruber within this month. 

Princeton’s journey to the Sweet 16 of the Men’s March Madness tournament included 15-seed Princeton winning against 2-seed Arizona and 7-seed Missouri, which led to more searches in that month than for Michelle Obama ’85 and Jeff Bezos ’86, Princeton’s two highest searched alumni between 2010 and 2023. Most of the searches for Princeton Basketball at this time occurred immediately after the Tiger’s loss to Creighton on March 24, 2023. The second most searches occurred following Princeton’s win against Missouri on March 18, 2023, becoming the fourth 15-seed to reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

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While men’s sports includes “Princeton Football,” the most searched term, eight men’s sports have a Bosworth score of zero, while only five women’s sports have such a score. Every general sport has a Bosworth score greater than 0, with only one sport — swimming and diving — with a score below one. 

Andrew Bosworth is an assistant Data editor for the ‘Prince.’

Michelle Obama ’85 has the highest Bosworth prime score

By Andrew Bosworth, Assistant Data Editor

Of the University’s most-searched-for alumni, more than half work in government and public affairs or the arts and entertainment industry. Eight of the top ten most prominent alumni majored in the humanities. 

Past analyses by The Daily Princetonian used Google Trends to assign professors a “Bosworth score,” a metric that compares the average searches for a person to the average number of searches for University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 in the same period of time. Here, the Data team looked to apply the same analysis to some of the University’s most well-known alumni. Since many prominent alumni garner many more Google searches than Eisgruber, the Data team created a new benchmark. The “Bosworth Prime Score” instead uses F. Scott Fitzgerald, who joined the University as a member of the Class of 1917, but dropped out during junior year to join the army, as the basis of comparison. Fitzgerald has a Bosworth score of 52.7, which means the Bosworth prime score is the Bosworth score divided by 52.7. Both the Bosworth and Bosworth prime scores only consider Google searches within the U.S. since 2010. 

Princetoniana is the University’s general information website and includes a growing list of 256 alumni who have made significant contributions in the fields of Arts, Culture, and Entertainment, Business and Economics, Government and Public Affairs, Higher Education, the Humanities and Religion, and Science and Mathematics. In this context, alumni refers to individuals who have obtained or worked towards undergraduate or graduate degrees, even if they did not receive a degree. Class year refers to the first degree an alumni was awarded from the University if they returned for graduate studies. For example, the founder of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Alfred Barr Class of 1922, GS Class of 1923, is analyzed as receiving a degree in 1922.

The median class year among the 256 most famous alumni is 1952. Richard Stockton ’1748 (an ancestor of the recently deceased submarine entrepreneur Stockton Rush III ’84) is the earliest prominent alumnus listed by the University. Stockton graduated before the University was relocated to Princeton, New Jersey. In June of 1776, Stockton was elected to the Second Continental Congress and was the first person from New Jersey to sign the Declaration of Independence. Stockton has a Bosworth prime score of 0.61.

The Arts, Culture, and Entertainment industry has the highest median Bosworth prime score. The most prominent alumni in this field are actress Brooke Shields ’87 with a score of 7.40 and actor Jimmy Stewart ’32 with a score of 3.35.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ’86 is the only top-searched alumni who majored in engineering. The most common majors (previously called concentrations) among the most well-known alumni are history and classics, each with two alumni. Three of the most searched alumni worked in public service, while four are known for accomplishments in the entertainment industry. 

With a Bosworth prime score of 29.92, former First Lady Michelle Obama ’85 is the most well-known and searched-for alumna of the University. In Obama’s memoir Becoming in 2018, she describes the alienation she felt when she first arrived at Princeton, noting the University was “extremely white and very male.” Obama majored in sociology and earned a certificate in African American studies before graduating cum laude in 1985.

An alumni analysis would be incomplete if we did not also examine fictional characters who attended or were accepted at Princeton University in television series, movies, or novels. 

While Princtonia includes a list of “Princetonians (Imaginary),” it does not include characters in novels and is far from complete. Our analysis compares searches among Wikipedia's larger Princeton-related fictional character list as of Nov. 14, 2023.

Fred Flintstone ’10,000 B.C., the main character of the animated sitcom “The Flintstones, 1960–1966,” is one of the oldest Princeton alumni. A Bosworth prime score of 3.86 places Flintstone as the fourth most prominent fictitious alumni and tenth most prominent overall alumni. In “Flintstone of Prinstone” (“The Flintstonessn 2: ep 8), Fred enrolls at Princeton University’s night school program to study public accounting and ultimately joins the football team.

Batman is the alter ego of millionaire Bruce Wayne ’37. When “The Dark Knight” trilogy Director Christopher Nolan spoke at the Class of 2015’s Class Day, Eisgruber inquired about Batman’s Princeton roots, to which Nolan responded that while he could confirm that Wayne attended Princeton, he did not graduate, telling seniors, “So as of tomorrow, you are all better than Batman.”

While Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics Jim Lee ’86 has a Bosworth prime score of 5.00, he is not on Princetonia’s list of contributors in the area of Arts, Culture, and Entertainment.

Andrew Bosworth is an assistant Data editor for the ‘Prince.’

Faculty committees with best known members include committees on lecturers, discipline, and undergraduate admission

By Andrew Bosworth, Assistant Data Editor

Faculty power is concentrated in 20 committees, housed within the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. Despite the fact that power is located in these committees, the Bosworth scores of faculty who sit on them are only slightly higher than the median.

19 members of the faculty serve on more than one committee, 10 percent of the 190 faculty serving on at least one committee. Tenured professor Barbara Nagel has a Bosworth score of zero and is the sole member of the faculty to serve as a voting member on three committees, serving as a faculty member of the Council of the Princeton University Community, the Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy, and the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School, where Nagel is on the executive committee.

The Clerk of the Faculty is a position held by a single faculty member. In the Rules and Procedures of the Faculty of Princeton University, the Council of College Heads is listed as a faculty committee although its members are not listed on the website of the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. The Clerk of the Faculty and the Council of College Heads are included in this analysis. 

All but three committees have an average Bosworth score above 1.00. The median university faculty member has a Bosworth score of 0.32 and the median Bosworth score of faculty on a committee is 0.35. The Committee on Appointments and Advancements of Lecturers has the highest median Bosworth score, with a score of 2.4. The other committees with relatively high median Bosworth scores were the Committee on Discipline and the Committee on Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid. The influential Committee on the Course of Study had a median Bosworth score of 0.9. Eight of the 20 faculty committees have median Bosworth scores of zero.

Not including the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School, faculty committees have an average size of 8.2 members. The Faculty Committee on the Graduate School, with 54 members is the largest committee, with “four subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Policy, the Subcommittee on Student Life and Discipline, the Subcommittee on Fellowships, and the Subcommittee on Curriculum.” The size of the committee is due to membership of each Director of graduate studies of each department and program offering graduate degrees.

Each committee, with the exception of the Clerk of the Faculty and the Council of College Heads, have requirements for academic diversity among their members. The Committee on Committees, for example, requires “one tenured and one tenure-track member of the Faculty from each of the four divisions of the University (Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Engineering and Applied Science).” 

Social sciences has both the largest faculty committee presence as well as the highest Bosworth score, with 61 members and an average Bosworth score of 4.00. Despite the second highest average Bosworth score, the fewest committee members belong to engineering departments. 

The School of Public and International Affairs has 14 faculty members on faculty committees, the most of any department, making up seven percent of all committee members. These members account for four percent of all SPIA faculty. The 146 SPIA faculty with the rank of lecturer or higher account for 11.5 percent of the total university faculty.

Marshall Brown is the faculty member on a committee with the highest Bosworth score for his own accomplishments, not including David Walker and Jordan Taylor, whose namesakes have the highest Bosworth scores. Brown is the Architecture Director of Graduate Studies and, according to his website, Brown’s “work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Crystal Bridges Museum”.

Of the seven heads of college on the Council of College Heads only two have Bosworth scores above zero: Butler’s head of college Elizabeth Armstrong with a score of 12.47 and New College West’s head of college AnneMarie Luijendijk with a score of 0.56.

Andrew Bosworth is an assistant Data editor for the ‘Prince.’

High profile professors are highly sought, but not necessarily better teachers

By Andrew Bosworth, Assistant Data Editor

Opinions on celebrity professors vary. Some have spoke glowingly about their famous professor, as one student wrote in an essay titled, “I Knew Toni Morrison. She Was a Gifted Teacher.” One student, on the other hand, criticized Princeton's biggest name professor, Paul Krugman in a comment as “a lot more disorganized than most of my professors and also perpetually late.”

We find that, on aggregate, the University professors who are the most well-known teach popular courses that fill up at high levels, but have slightly lower course ratings. Only instructors with “professor” in their title were considered in this analysis. A professor's course rating is the average rating of all courses they have taught since Fall 2020.

The highest rated professors were professors with Bosworth scores between 1 and 5, generally signifying a moderate public profiles, with 75 percent of those professors having above a 4.0 average rating.  Professors with Bosworth scores above 10 received lower ratings, only 61.7 percent of whom had above a 4.0 average rating.

Courses by high-profile professors seem to be more in demand. 60 percent of courses taught by professors with Bosworth scores greater than 50 fill up to 75 percent or greater capacity, and 53 percent of courses taught by professors with Bosworth scores between 10 and 50 fill up to 75 percent or greater capacity. 51 percent of courses taught be professors with Bosworth scores below 10 fill up to 75 percent of greater capacity.

Andrew Bosworth is an assistant Data editor for the ‘Prince.’

Data Contributor Nathan Beck contributed reporting.

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