Academic Genealogy

Imagine constructing one's family tree, except that instead of the tree being defined by the usual parent-child relationship, it's defined by the academic advisor-student relationship. Thus one may speak of one's academic sibling, parent, grandparent, uncle/aunt, cousin, etc. In a family tree, any given person will tend to have exponentially bifurcated ancestry and descendants. In academia, most people have a single parent, and so the complete structure below any person is much more tree-shaped. What's cool about this form of "academic asexual reproduction" is that one's ancestry usually forms a linear path that can be traced conveniently. And thanks to the Mathematical Genealogy Project, the hard work is already done. Here's what the Project tells me about my provenance.

Sølen Rasmussen  
Bernt Holmboe  
Carl Bjerknes Cato Guldberg
M. Sophus Lie (1872)

The Lie of "Lie groups". Evidently co-advised.

Elling Holst
Axel Thue (1889)

His work continues to be important in theoretical computer science and elsewhere.

Thoralf Skolem (1926)

One of the founders of modern set theory. That would explain my love of the subject, if this lineage were genetic!

Öystein Ore (1924)

I'm not sure why Ore got his PhD before his advisor. But so says the Genealogy Project.

Marshall Hall, Jr. (1936)

Group theorist.

Donald Knuth (1963)

That would explain my fascination with typography...

Leonidas Guibas (1976)

My academic grandfather. I believe his "kinetic data structures" are having an impact in computational geometry.

David Salesin (1991)

Coined the term "Non-photorealistic rendering" -- a good or bad thing depending on your point of view.

Craig Kaplan (2002)

It's well known that greatness can skip a generation...

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Craig S. Kaplan Last updated: