The Quantum Pontiff

Closed Timelike Mathematicians

John Baez points to a remarkable mathematician (having being lead there by Alissa Crans):

You may have heard of the Mathematics Genealogy Project. This is a wonderful database that lets you look up the Ph.D. advisor and students of almost any mathematician. This is how I traced back my genealogy to Gauss back in week166.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself, too — until I found someone who had two Ph.D. students before he was even born!

Yes indeed: our friend and cafĂ© regular Tom Leinster is listed as having two Ph.D. students: Jose Cruz in 1959, and Steven Sample in 1965. At the time he was teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Later he took an extended sabbatical, got born in England, and transferred to kindergarten. After a lively second career as a youth, he returned to academia and got his Ph.D. at Cambridge under Martin Hyland in 2000. He now has a permanent position at the University of Glasgow. But who can say what he’ll do next?

Check it out soon, since it may go away.

And yes I posted this just so I could used the words “closed timelike mathematicians.”

Comments

  1. #1 csrster
    August 2, 2008

    Interesting, but my ancestry stops dead at Sir Arthur Eddington who never took a doctorate :-(

  2. #2 Pieter Kok
    August 2, 2008

    Neat, I trance my ancestry back to Euler via Lagrange and Fourier!

  3. #3 Ian Durham
    August 2, 2008

    csrster:

    Cool! You can trace yourself back to Eddington?? I wrote my PhD thesis on Eddington’s Fundamental Theory and have written a number of papers on his work.

    Dave:

    There seems to be a theme in the blogosphere lately since Aaronson just posted something that involved the words ‘closed time-like.’

  4. #4 Jonathan Vos Post
    August 2, 2008

    In several disciplines, it is stanrad practice to tell students who their teacher’s teachers’ teachers’ were, such as in Music, Theatre, Martial Arts. In others, it depends on how illustrious in the lineage, or how people-oriented the teacher. Note also that one’s social network (a la Erdos number) of coauthors, coauthors’ coathors, and the like, can go back far into one’s past. Light cone =/= ink cone.

    PROFESSIONAL “GENEOLOGY”: MY TEACHERS’ TEACHERS’ TEACHERS

  5. #5 Ian Durham
    August 2, 2008

    Luckily my genealogy was updated recently (meaning my “ancestors” updated themselves). The furthest back I can go, though, is William Hodge at Cambridge who was Michael Atiyah’s advisor (from whom I am “descended”).

  6. #6 JohnQPublic
    August 2, 2008

    “…until I found someone who had two Ph.D. students before he was even born!”

    Isn’t this just being true to quantum weirdness? (And maybe true to relativity, now that I think about it.)

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