Mathematics Genealogy Project

The Mathematics Genealogy Project is a web-based database for the academic genealogy of mathematicians.[1][2][3] By 13 February 2019, it contained information on 238,725 mathematical scientists who contributed to research-level mathematics. For a typical mathematician, the project entry includes graduation year, thesis title, alma mater, doctoral advisor, and doctoral students.[1][4]

Origin of the database

The project grew out of founder Harry Coonce's desire to know the name of his advisor's advisor.[1][2] Coonce was Professor of Mathematics at Minnesota State University, Mankato, at the time of the project's founding, and the project went online there in fall 1997.[5] Coonce retired from Mankato in 1999, and in fall 2002 the university decided that it would no longer support the project. The project relocated at that time to North Dakota State University. Since 2003, the project has also operated under the auspices of the American Mathematical Society and in 2005 it received a grant from the Clay Mathematics Institute.[1][3] Harry Coonce has been assisted by Mitchel T. Keller, Assistant Professor at Washington and Lee University. Dr Keller is currently the Managing Director of the project.[6]


The Mathematics Genealogy Mission statement states, "Throughout this project when we use the word "mathematics" or "mathematician" we mean that word in a very inclusive sense.[5] Thus, all relevant data from statistics, computer science, philosophy or operations research is welcome."[7]


The genealogy information is obtained from sources such as Dissertation Abstracts International and Notices of the American Mathematical Society, but may be supplied by anyone via the project's website.[3][8] The searchable database contains the name of the mathematician, university which awarded the degree, year when the degree was awarded, title of the dissertation, names of the advisor and second advisor, a flag of the country where the degree was awarded, a listing of doctoral students, and a count of academic descendants.[1] Some historically significant figures who lacked a doctoral degree are listed, notably Joseph Louis Lagrange.[9]

Accuracy of information and other criticisms

It has been noted that "The data collected by the mathematics genealogy project are self-reported, so there is no guarantee that the observed genealogy network is a complete description of the mentorship network. In fact, 16,147 mathematicians do not have a recorded mentor, and of these, 8,336 do not have any recorded proteges."[10] Maimgren, Ottino and Amaral (2010) stated that "for [mathematicians who graduated between 1900 and 1960] we believe that the graduation and mentorship record is the most reliable."[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Jackson, Allyn (2007), "A labor of love: the Mathematics Genealogy Project" (PDF), Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 54 (8): 1002–1003.
  2. ^ a b Carr, Sarah (August 18, 1999), "Retired Mathematician Develops a Family Tree of the Scholars in His Field", The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  3. ^ a b c Worth, Fred (2006), "A Report on the Mathematics Genealogy Project" (PDF), MAA FOCUS, 26 (8): 40–41.
  4. ^ Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. ^ a b Mulcahy, Colm; The Mathematics Genealogy Project Comes of Age at Twenty-one (PDF) AMS Notices (May 2017)
  6. ^ MGP News
  7. ^ Mission Statement, The Mathematics Genealogy Project
  8. ^ Where do you get your data?, Mathematics Genealogy FAQ, retrieved March 28, 2010.
  9. ^ Joseph Lagrange, "We show a link to Euler to show a connection in our intellectual heritage. (hbc)", The Mathematics Genealogy Project
  10. ^ a b Maimgren, R. D., Ottino, J. M., & Amaral, L. A. (2010). "The role of mentorship in protege performance", Nature, 465(7298), 622-626, doi:10.1038/nature09040

External links

Academic genealogy

An academic, or scientific, genealogy, organizes a family tree of scientists and scholars according to mentoring relationships, often in the form of dissertation supervision relationships.

Academic genealogy of theoretical physicists

The following is an academic genealogy of theoretical physicists and is constructed by following the pedigree of thesis advisors. If an advisor did not exist, or if the field of physics is unrelated, an academic genealogical link can be constructed by using the university from which the theoretical physicist graduated.

An academic genealogy tree lists the physicists' PhD (or in some cases BA/MA) date and school, if known. Nobel Prize winners are indicated by †. If physicists are advised by mathematicians, their genealogy can be readily traced using the Mathematics Genealogy Project.

For the meaning of "s.v.", see here.

Adriano Garsia

Adriano Mario Garsia (born 20 August 1928) is a Tunisian-born Italian American mathematician who works in combinatorics, representation theory, and algebraic geometry. He is a student of Charles Loewner and has published work on representation theory, symmetric functions and algebraic combinatorics. He is also the namesake of the Garsia–Wachs algorithm for optimal binary search trees, which he published with his student Michelle L. Wachs in 1977.Born to Italian Tunisians in Tunis, Garsia moved to Rome in 1946.As of 2018 he had 34 students and 152 descendants, according to the data at the Mathematics Genealogy Project, and was on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego.

In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

Bartel Leendert van der Waerden

Bartel Leendert van der Waerden (Dutch: [vɑn dər ˈʋaːrdə(n)]; February 2, 1903 – January 12, 1996) was a Dutch mathematician and historian of mathematics.

Hans W. Liepmann

Hans Wolfgang Liepmann (July 3, 1914 – June 24, 2009) was an American engineer and emeritus Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology.He is known for his numerous contributions in fluid mechanics covering a wide range of problem areas, such as flow instability and turbulence, gas kinetics, viscous compressible fluids and liquid helium flows.

Harry Coonce

Harry Bernard Coonce (born 1939) is an American mathematician notable for being the originator of the now-popular Mathematics Genealogy Project, launched in 1996, a web-based catalog of mathematics doctoral advisors and students.Coonce conceived of the idea while reading the unsigned thesis of his academic advisor Malcolm Robertson, in the Princeton University library, and wondering who his advisor’s advisor was. The amount of time it took Coonce, without the existence of a central database of such information, to find out that Robertson’s advisor was C. Einar Hille, gave him the idea for the project. In a 2000 interview, Coonce estimated that the project would top out at about 80,000 entries. In June 2016, the number of entries surpassed 200,000.

Hilary Priestley

Hilary Ann Priestley is a British mathematician. She is a professor at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, where she has been Tutor in Mathematics since 1972.Hilary Priestley introduced ordered separable topological spaces that are important in the study of distributive lattices; such topological spaces are now usually called Priestley spaces in her honour. The term "Priestley duality" is also used. In addition, Priestly has contributed to the representation theory of distributive lattices.Following Priestley's academic advisors back by 15 generations on the Mathematics Genealogy Project database, one arrives at Isaac Newton.

Johann Christoph Wichmannshausen

Johann Christoph Wichmannshausen (October 3, 1663 – January 17, 1727) was a 17th-century German philologist. He received his magister's degree (the highest degree of the Faculty of Philosophy, equal to the doctorates) from the University of Leipzig in 1685. His dissertation, titled Disputationem Moralem De Divortiis Secundum Jus Naturae (Moral Disputation on Divorce according to the Law of Nature), was written under the direction of his father in law and advisor Otto Mencke. He was from 1692 until the time of his death a professor of Near Eastern languages and university librarian at the University of Wittenberg, and gave courses there in Philosophy and Hebrew.

Among the books he published are De extinctione ordinis Templariorum (The extinction of the Templars), 1687 and many short works on aspects of the Old Testament.

Today, Wichmannshausen is best known as part of a line of scientific genealogy stretching from Mencke to Gauss and to many other mathematicians. As of 2015, the Mathematics Genealogy Project lists 88523 of his academic descendants.

Joseph Ritt

Joseph Fels Ritt (August 23, 1893 – January 5, 1951) was an American mathematician at Columbia University in the early 20th century. He was born and died in New York.

After beginning his undergraduate studies at City College of New York, Ritt received his B.A. from George Washington University in 1913. He then earned a doctorate in mathematics from Columbia University in 1917 under the supervision of Edward Kasner. After doing calculations for the war effort in World War I, he joined the Columbia faculty in 1921. He served as department chair from 1942 to 1945, and in 1945 became the Davies Professor of Mathematics. In 1932, George Washington University honored him with a Doctorate in Science, and in 1933 he was elected to join the United States National Academy of Sciences. He has 463 academic descendants listed in the Mathematics Genealogy Project, mostly through his student Ellis Kolchin. Ritt was an Invited Speaker with talk Elementary functions and their inverses at the ICM in 1924 in Toronto and a Plenary Speaker at the ICM in 1950 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.Ritt founded differential algebra theory, which was subsequently much developed by him and his student Ellis Kolchin.He is known for his work on characterizing the indefinite integrals that can be solved in closed form, for his work on the theory of ordinary differential equations and partial differential equations, for beginning the study of differential algebraic groups, and for the method of characteristic sets used in the solution of systems of polynomial equations.

Despite his great achievements, he was never awarded any prize for his work, a fact which he resented, as he felt he was underappreciated. He once composed the following epitaph for himself:

Here at your feet J. F. Ritt lies;

He never won the Bôcher prize.

Leon Simon

Leon Melvyn Simon (born 1945) is a Leroy P. Steele Prize and Bôcher Prize-winning mathematician. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Mathematics Department at Stanford University.

Leonard Blumenthal

Leonard Mascot Blumenthal (February 27, 1901 – August 1984) was an American mathematician.

He received his Ph.D. in 1927 from Johns Hopkins University, under the supervision of Frank Morley; his dissertation was titled Lagrange Resolvents in Euclidean Geometry. He taught for the majority of his professional career at the University of Missouri and was the author of A Modern View of Geometry.He was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study from 1933 to 1936. According to the Mathematics Genealogy Project, he had 18 Ph.D. students at Missouri, among them Leroy Milton Kelly and William Arthur Kirk; he is the academic ancestor of over 80 mathematicians.The Leonard M. Blumenthal Distinguished Professorship in Mathematics at the University of Missouri was established in 1992 in honor of Blumenthal. This endowed chair is given on a five-year rotating basis to Missouri mathematics professors; the Blumenthal Professors at Missouri have included John Beem, Mark Ashbaugh, Alex Koldobsky, and Zhenbo Qin.

List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1879

Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1879.

List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1895

Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1895.

Max Schuler

The German engineer (5 February 1882 – 30 July 1972) Maximilian Joseph Johannes Eduard Schuler is best known for discovering the principle known as Schuler tuning which is fundamental to the operation of a gyrocompass or inertial guidance system that will be operated near the surface of the earth.Schuler's cousin Hermann Anschütz-Kaempfe founded a firm near Kiel, Germany, to manufacture navigational devices using gyroscopes in 1905, and Schuler joined the firm in 1906. For many years they struggled with the problem of maintaining a vertical reference as a craft moved around on the surface of the earth.

In 1923 Schuler published his discovery that if the gyrocompass was tuned to have an 84.4 minute period of oscillation (the Schuler period) then it would resist errors due to sideways acceleration of the ship or aircraft in which it was installed.

Later, Schuler served as a professor of dynamics at the University of Göttingen. According to the Mathematics Genealogy Project he supervised one dissertation there, that of Kurt Magnus (whose other supervisor was Ludwig Prandtl).

Ramaiyengar Sridharan

Ramaiyengar Sridharan is a mathematician at Chennai Mathematical Institute, formerly at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

Robert P. Dilworth

Robert Palmer Dilworth (December 2, 1914 – October 29, 1993) was an American mathematician. His primary research area was lattice theory; his biography at the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive states "it would not be an exaggeration to say that he was one of the main factors in the subject moving from being merely a tool of other disciplines to an important subject in its own right". He is best known for Dilworth's theorem (Dilworth 1950) relating chains and antichains in partial orders; he was also the first to study antimatroids (Dilworth 1940).

Dilworth was born in 1914 in Hemet, California, at that time a remote desert ranching town. He went to college at the California Institute of Technology, receiving his baccalaureate in 1936 and continuing there for his graduate studies. Dilworth's graduate advisor was Morgan Ward, a student of Eric Temple Bell, who was also on the Caltech faculty at the time. On receiving his Ph.D. in 1939, Dilworth took an instructorship at Yale University. While at Yale, he met and married his wife, Miriam White, with whom he eventually had two sons. He returned to Caltech as a faculty member in 1943, and spent the remainder of his academic career there.

Dilworth advised 17 Ph.D. students and as of 2010 has 373 academic descendants listed at the Mathematics Genealogy Project, many through his student Juris Hartmanis, a noted complexity theorist. Other notable mathematicians advised by Dilworth include Curtis Greene and Alfred W. Hales.

Roger Temam

Roger Meyer Temam (born 19 May 1940) is a college professor of mathematics at Indiana University, Bloomington. According to Mathematics Genealogy Project, (in the beginning of 2018) Temam has supervised 119 PhD theses; this is the highest number of PhD theses supervised by an individual in the field of mathematics. He has a total of 521 mathematical descendants. He is known for his contributions to the theory of Navier–Stokes equations and numerical analysis.

Sigismondo Polcastro

Sigismondo Polcastro (1384–1473) was an Italian physician and natural philosopher. He was born to a jurist father, Girolamo, of the ancient de Porcastris family of Vicenza, and Maddalena Volpe of Padua. Perhaps born in Vicenza, he moved to Padua while he was still a boy.He received a doctorate in arts from the University of Padua in 1412, taught natural philosophy from 1419, obtained a doctorate in medicine in 1424, and taught medicine from 1426 to 1464 or 1465. He wrote several short medical works.In 2016, he was pronounced the progenitor of the largest group of mathematicians in the Mathematics Genealogy Project, which groups mathematicians by teacher–student mentoring relationships, via his student Pietro Roccabonella.

William Littell Everitt

William Littell Everitt (April 14, 1900 – September 6, 1986) was a noted American electrical engineer, educator, and founding member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1933. He was adviser of numerous outstanding scientists at OSU including Karl Spangenberg, and Nelson Wax. His PhD adviser was Frederic Columbus Blake.

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