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Mathematics Genealogy Project: Wikis


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The Mathematics Genealogy Project is a web-based database that gives an academic genealogy based on dissertation supervisor. A Ph.D. (or other doctoral degree such as D.Sc. or Ed. D.) mathematician's "parent" is her/his doctoral advisor.


Origins of the database

The project grew out of founder Harry B. Coonce's desire to know the name of his advisor's advisor. 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 the fall of 1997. In the fall of 2002, a couple years after Coonce's retirement, Minnesota State University-Mankato, 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.

Definition of mathematician

A mathematician is broadly defined to include statisticians, data analysts, and quantitative methodologists in the physical and social/behavioral sciences, such as computer scientists and operations researchers.

Limitations of the database

The major limitation of the database is the lack of standards prior to the 20th century on who is considered the doctoral advisor. There are advisors to students who were under ten years of age when the advisor died, advisors listed who were known to never have even met their supposed student, and advisors who signed the dissertation who were known to have had little or nothing to do with the dissertation.

Moreover, there are many entries for mathematicians who never completed a doctoral disseration. Other major limitations of the database, particulary for entries since the 20th century, is a non-uniform application of who constitutes a 2nd disseration advisor. For example, some universities have an official designation for a 2nd advisor, while others do not.

Source of information

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 their website. 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 co-advisor, and a flag of the country where the degree was awarded.

Since Coonce's retirement, the database staff do not verify user-supplied information from either the university granting the degree, or the doctoral student who received the degree, to determine if the parent was a 1st or 2nd advisor. Just as records may be entered without any verification, records can be purged without any verification.

External links



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