Duquesne University Professor declares “It’s J.K. Rowling”
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for fans of the Harry Potter series and author J.K. Rowling, resulting from the discovery of her pseudonym as author Robert Galbraith, causing her latest book The Cuckoo’s Calling to make international headlines. But who actually made these discoveries and how it all got put together so quickly may come as a bit of a shock to fans.
It was previously reported on MuggleNet that one of her “trusted” lawyers at Russells Solicitors, Chris Gossage, spilled the secret to a friend of his wife, Judith Callegari. She sent a Tweet to a journalist at The Sunday Times revealing the pseudonym of Rowling.
Enter Professor Patrick Juola, an associate professor of computer science at Duquesne University!
According to a new article in The Chronicle of Higher Education as sent to us via our MuggleNet Academia friend, Professor Amy Sturgis of The Mythguard Institute, The Sunday Times journalist, Cal Flyn, sent an urgent email to Professor Juola asking him to utilize a computer program at the University called Java Graphical Authorship Attribution Program (JGAAP), that he had designed to recognize writing tics undetectable by human readers.
From here, the whole discovery unfolded very quickly as Professor Juola loaded the digital version of The Cuckoo’s Calling in the program along with The Casual Vacancy, Rowling’s first post-Potter novel for adults. He then instructed the computer to analyze the text using four variables: word-length distribution; the use of common words like “the” and “of”; recurring-word pairings; and the distribution of “character 4-grams,” or groups of four adjacent characters, words, or parts of words.
Within a half-hour, Professor Juola had his answer: it was a strong case that Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling was in fact written by esteemed author J.K. Rowling!
The Sunday Times took this information provided by Professor Juola along with the results of a second stylometric analysis conducted by Professor Peter Millican, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford, and challenged Ms. Rowling. Rowling confessed and the news hit the streets of the world within hours. By the following Monday, Professor Juola had become known as the computer scientist who discovered the identity of pseudonym Robert Galbraith, a.k.a. J.K. Rowling.
Special thanks to Professor Amy Sturgis for the tip!