Mathematics Genealogy Project

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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]

Database organized collection of data

A database is an organized collection of data, generally stored and accessed electronically from a computer system. Where databases are more complex they are often developed using formal design and modeling techniques.

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.

Mathematician person with an extensive knowledge of mathematics

A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in his or her work, typically to solve mathematical problems.


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. Keller is currently the Managing Director of the project. [6]

Harry Bernard Coonce 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.

Minnesota State University, Mankato public comprehensive university in Mankato, Minnesota

Minnesota State University, Mankato, also known as Minnesota State, is a public university in Mankato, Minnesota. Established as the Second State Normal School in 1858, it was designated in Mankato in 1866, and officially opened as Mankato Normal School in 1868. It is the second oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. It is also the second largest public university in the state, and has over 123,000 living alumni worldwide. It is the most comprehensive of the seven state universities and is referred to as the flagship of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. It is an important part of the economy of Southern Minnesota and the state as it adds more than $781 million to the economy of Minnesota annually.

North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, more commonly known as North Dakota State University (NDSU), is a public research university in Fargo, North Dakota. The institution was founded as North Dakota Agricultural College in 1890 as the research land-grant institution for the state of North Dakota. NDSU is a comprehensive doctoral research university with programs involved in very high research activity. NDSU offers 102 undergraduate majors, 170 undergraduate degree programs, 6 undergraduate certificate programs, 79 undergraduate minors, 81 master’s degree programs, 47 doctoral degree programs of study and 10 graduate certificate programs.


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]

Mathematics Field of study concerning quantity, patterns and change

Mathematics includes the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change. It has no generally accepted definition.

Statistics Study of the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data

Statistics is a branch of mathematics working with data collection, organization, analysis, interpretation and presentation. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statistical population or a statistical model to be studied. Populations can be diverse groups of people or objects such as "all people living in a country" or "every atom composing a crystal". Statistics deals with every aspect of data, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments. See glossary of probability and statistics.

Computer science Study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation

Computer science is the study of processes that interact with data and that can be represented as data in the form of programs. It enables the use of algorithms to manipulate, store, and communicate digital information. A computer scientist studies the theory of computation and the practice of designing software systems.

Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.


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

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.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Jackson, Allyn (2007), "A labor of love: the Mathematics Genealogy Project" (PDF), Notices of the American Mathematical Society , 54 (8): 1002–1003.
  2. 1 2 Carr, Sarah (August 18, 1999), "Retired Mathematician Develops a Family Tree of the Scholars in His Field", The Chronicle of Higher Education .
  3. 1 2 3 Worth, Fred (2006), "A Report on the Mathematics Genealogy Project" (PDF), MAA FOCUS , 26 (8): 40–41.
  4. Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. 1 2 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. 1 2 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.