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Brilliant and Motivated, but a good Hire?

The evi­dence is clear that Albert László Barabási, a world-​​renowned net­work sci­en­tist and Dis­tin­guished Uni­ver­sity Pro­fessor of Physics at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, has enjoyed a suc­cessful career. As the founding pro­fessor of Northeastern’s net­work sci­ence pro­gram, Barabási is a “bril­liant and moti­vated” scholar, in the words of his grad­uate advisor, Gene Stanley, him­self a dis­tin­guished pro­fessor of physics at Boston University.

Barabási has pub­lished four books and 142 papers, which have col­lec­tively received more than 100 thou­sand cita­tions. He’s even got a Kevin Bacon number of one, thanks to his appear­ance along­side the Hol­ly­wood actor in a movie called “Con­nected,” according to Larry Finkel­stein, dean of the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence. As Murray Gibson, dean of the Col­lege of Sci­ence, put it, “you can’t hide from the obvious impact of his work.”

But on Monday at a cer­e­mony installing him as the inau­gural Robert Gray Dodge Pro­fessor of Net­work Sci­ence, Barabási asked whether all these acco­lades actu­ally made him a good hire back in 2009.

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