February 28, 2015

I have known about the Mathematical Genealogy Project for quite some time, but, prompted by Richard Zach I notice two new and wonderful things.

First, David Alber has produced in Geneagrapher a neat tool to download genealogy data and save a .dot file, which can be read by Graphviz and displayed as a directed graph.

Here’s a detail from my genealogy. (This image is a link to a pdf file of the entire thing.)

Greg Restall's Academic Genealogy
Some of my genealogy

The second new thing is that I found to my great surprise and delight that the database has been significantly filled out since I last looked through it. My academic ancestry has been traced back to the 14th Century.

Looking at the graph, you can see that there is a recent branch point at my great3-grandparent, Richard Rado, who had two supervisors, G. H. Hardy, who was educated in Cambridge, and Issai Schur, from Berlin. The Berlin side of my ‘family’ has a completely continental European background, while the Cambridge side is firmly English for generations, until you go back to the 17th Century, where you find that Isaac Newton’s grandparent Vincenzo Viviani was educated at the University of Pisa (and one of his Doctoral advisors was Galileo Galilei!)

See if you can spot Mersenne, Gauss, Newton, Galileo, Weierstrass, Cayley, Frobenius, Erasmus, Cranmer and Ficino among my ancestors. It’s dizzying to see so much of your academic ancestry laid out for inspection, and to see how ideas have been passed down from generation to generation.

Another striking thing about this genealogy? There are no women there. None at all. (Not even among my own graduate students, each of whom I’m very proud indeed.) May this change, and change very soon.

Thanks, Richard, for the prompt. This has been a delight to explore.

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I’m Greg Restall, and this is my personal website. ¶ I am the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.



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