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Contractor Hosts New Podcast Series, “Untangling the Web”

The broadcasts include interviews with thought leaders in the technology and research space

In partnership with the Northwestern University's Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group, the Web Science Trust is launching a new podcast, ”Untangling the Web.”
This series is hosted by Noshir Contractor, Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in Northwestern Engineering, School of Communication, and Kellogg School of Management. Contractor, web science expert and president-elect-select of the International Communications Association (ICA), interviews thought leaders in the technology and research space. The goal is to help the audience navigate how the web is shaping and influencing society just as society shapes and influences the web. It also examines how the web is influencing the way we live in the midst of a pandemic. 

Noshir ContractorIn each episode, Contractor invites guests with unique perspectives and policy/research experiences to talk about various facets of web science. Listeners hear about the challenges and excitement that comes with understanding how networks of people and machines interact on a global scale as well as the internet may be on the brink of breaking into four distinct “splinternets.” Two founders of web science, Jim Hendler and Dame Wendy Hall, are among the first set of interviewees.
Guests discuss how to expect the unexpected. Web science is as human and social as it is technical and data based. That means the behaviors of people in these networks and the properties of these technologies constantly bring fresh difficulties, questions, and innovations. As government, business and academia all seek to harness the power of these historically ungoverned networks, they must do so without falling victim to unintended consequences.
From December 14 to December 18, a new episode will launch daily:  

  • December 14: “Web Science - Why Now More Than Ever?” with Jim Hendler, professor of computer and cognitive science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
  • December 15: “Symphonic Social Science - and Web Science” with Susan Halford, professor of sociology, University of Bristol
  • December 16: "Web Science - From the Beginning and Beyond” with Dame Wendy Hall, professor of computer science, University of Southampton
  • December 17: “From Social Networking to Social Petworking” with Jen Golbeck, information studies professor, University of Maryland
  • December 18: "The Bits and Bots of the Web” with Fil Menczer, professor of informatics and computer science, Indiana University

SONIC advances theories and methodologies to better understand and enable networks in a wide range of social settings. 

The Web Science Trust is a charity promoting the understanding of the web, through education and research in the discipline of web science. It hosts the WSTNet network of top-class web science laboratories from around the world.

New episodes will be released on a regular basis and will be available from the WST website, and the podcast homepage. Subscriptions are available from major podcast platforms including Spotify, Apple, Google, and SoundCloud.

For more information, please visit