We are not alone! (At least, most of us aren’t)

Your name may feel unique to you – but chances are that someone, somewhere is called the same thing. Arthur Charpentier and Baptiste Coulmont estimate the proportion of shared identities in large social groups.
The Western system of identification is based on a first and last name: one a given name (John) and the other a family name (Martin), often – but not always – transmitted from father to child. Our names mean something to us; they are deeply personal. But they are by no means unique, and the pairing of first and last names has never been sufficient to identify someone without ambiguity.


with Arthur Charpentier “We are not alone! (at least, most of us aren’t), Significance, 15(1):23-28, DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2018.01108.x (Homonymy in large scale social groups)

  1. Pre-print on arXiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/1707.07607
  2. Mon homonyme. Un autre est je (blog post)
  3. À la recherche des homonymes (blog post, Freakonometrics)