Blog of Andrés Aravena

My academic ancestors

03 November 2019

The Department of Mathematics of North Dakota State University handles the Mathematics Genealogy Project. This is a database listing most mathematicians and their advisors. It is a genealogy since usually these can be seen as family relationships. Your Ph.D. advisor is your parent, their advisor is your grandparent, and so on, to all your ancestors. If you have advised someone, they become your children, and their students are your descendants.

You can see in my page that I have two advisors: my “father” Alejandro Maass from Chile, and my “mother” Anne Siegel, from France. Then you can click them and see who are their advisors. And their advisors, and their advisors.

For the modern times, each person has to register his/herself. For the older generation, they use historic data, as good as available. Some people have more than one advisor, which in old times was not always formal. In other words, it includes the cases of master–disciple relationships. In some cases the date of diploma is included.

With some simple command-line tools, I downloaded my academic family tree. Looking at the tree, I find many interesting names and connections.

We do not know who were the advisors of many people on the tree. We can only imagine that there should be a connection with Indian and Babylonian, and other Persian mathematicians.

This is the family where I’m proud to belong. Do you recognize any other famous name?