Oliver Knill

The Math Genealogy tree

Since the genealogy database is not available in raw form, I spidered it in April 12 2008 and scraped the link data from the 1.5 gig large HTML directory, to get the topology of the tree. I got 104185 entries with mathematicians numbered from 1 to 120915. Entered into Mathematica, I have a list of pairs (n,m), which reads that m is a "advisor" of n. Now, I assign a label "generation" g to each mathematician, which means that the mathematician has a Grandg-1 dad, but not a Grandg dad. I also assign a label "weight" w, to each mathematician X, which is the number of mathematicians which have X as an ancestor.

Visualizing the graph is difficult. Putting the mathematicians on a square and connecting (advisor,student) links produces a mess but illustrates how the database was built. You can see it if you load the PS file. There is a correlation between generation and number, but it is not uniform. We next want to render a tree where mathematicians with larger weight are enlarged and the generation sorts the tree better.

My Genealogy

Back to "random and silly" pages Euler is my Grand11 Dad (if the PhD Adviser is defined as "Dad"). Leibniz is my Grand14 Dad. This is not very special. 50'000 mathematicians (almost half of the genealogy tree) share the same property. [W] are links to Wikipedia entries. [G] links to genealogy entries.

Erhard Weigel
1625-1699 [W] [G], Popularizer of science
Gottfried Leibniz
1646-1716 [W] [G], Invention of Calculus
Jacob Bernoulli
1654-1705 [W] [G], Seperable differential equations
Johann Bernoulli
1667-1748 [W] [G], L'Hopital rule
Leonhard Euler
1707-1783 [W] [G], Euler formula
Joseph Lagrange
1736-1813 [W] [G], Lagrange multipliers
Jean-Baptiste Fourier
1768-1830 [W] [G], Fourier series
Johann Dirichlet
1805-1859 [W] [G], Dirichlet principle
Rudolf Lipschitz
1832-1903 [W] [G], Lipshitz condition
Felix Klein
1849-1925 [W] [G], Erlanger program
Ferdinand Lindemann
1852-1939 [W] [G], Pi Transcendence
Arnold Sommerfeld
1868-1951 [W] [G], Fine-structure constant
Karl Herzfeld
1892-1978 [W] [G], Physical chemistry
John Wheeler
1911-2008 [W] [G], Black hole
Arthur Wightman
1922- [W] [G], Quantum field theory
Oscar Lanford
1940- [W] [G], Feigenbaum fixed point

Oliver Knill, Department of Mathematics, Harvard University, One Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. SciCenter 432 Tel: (617) 495 5549, Email: knill@math.harvard.edu. twitter, youtube, vimeo, Linkedin Google plus Spring 2014 office hours: Tue/Thu 4-5, and by appointment, especially before and after classes.