With Google Ngram Viewer it is possible to make a time plot of the relative frequency of a phrase in all books archived by Google. It reveals some interesting trends in the popularity of some of the research topics in our department.
The application uses centuries of data. For example, it shows that the term "stomata" (studied by Hugo de Boer) was first introduced around 1820, and peaked around the beginning of the 20th century. The word "Romans" (topic of Brian Dermody's research) shows a remarkable trend, with clear dips around the two world wars and the cold war. Apparently people don't feel like writing about this violent empire in times of war.
Interesting is the fact that the term "ecosystem" seems to pop-up in the late 60's, even tough it was coined in 1935 by Arthur Tansley. Remarkably, the term "ecology" had been part of the English vocabulary for decades at that time. Unfortunately, the topic of my last two papers "pattern formation" seems to have lost attention. I guess I'll have to keep on linking my work to topics like climate change to get my work published.