Back again before Fall Quarter.

It’s nice to read an old post where I weigh 235, and note that today I weighed 219!  I suppose that it was from early January, although I notice that there isn’t a date on any of my posts!  How annoying.Well, over at the Lyceum, Nick posted a link to the Mathematics Genealogy Project.  I decided to take a look and see from whence I spring.  If we start with Dr. Lafferriere (he is my PhD advisor), we get:

  • Gerardo Arturo Lafferriere, PhD 1986
  • Hector José Sussmann, PhD 1969
  • Jacob T. Schwartz, PhD 1952
  • Nelson  Dunford, PhD 1936
  • Jacob David Tamarkin, PhD 1917
  • Andrei Andreyevich Markov, PhD 1884
  • Pafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev, PhD 1849
  • Nikolai Dmitrievich Brashman, PhD 1834
  • Joseph Johann von Littrow , PhD date unknown

Sadly, there’s no information on Dr. von Littrow.  Though perhaps I’ll try to dig up something in the future.  It is nice to be able to tie myself, however tenuously, to the mathematicians whose work I am studying now: Markov and Chebyshev.  And perhaps I will end up learning more about my other predecessors.

Of course, I could also examine the pedigree of another pair of mathematicians who greatly influenced me while I was getting my undergraduate degree:  Dr. Kenneth Klopfenstein and Dr. Arne Magnus (both of Colorado State University).  Dr. Klopfenstein includes Poisson and Lagrange in his ancestry, and sadly Dr. Magnus’ advisor is unknown.

Now, while it is a fun little excursion into mathematics history to look at one’s ‘ancestry’ in this way, at the end of the day it is your own mathematical work that makes your name, not that of those who came before (or after).  Although, I must say that someone who has a number of great students has probably done a lot for mathematics as a discipline even if they haven’t published anything.

Ok- that’s enough for today.  I’ll drop in again next week.

ex animo


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