Monday, October 10, 2011

Eli Upfal is my cousin!

As I am deciding not to go to a workshop in memory of Philippe Flajolet this December, I have looked at my academic ancestry using the Mathematics genealogy project. It only takes five generations to go from me, via him, back in time until one goes across from computer science to mathematics, to Schutzenberger. Then we quickly get to a dense sequence of illustrious ancestors, all the way back to Poisson, Lagrange, and finally Euler, who had more than 60000 descendants.

I wondered: with so many people tracing their genealogy back to Euler, is Euler an academic Eve? Are we all cousins via him?

For example Eli Upfal is a distant cousin: we have Darboux (PhD 1866) as our closest common ancestor.

But the answer is negative: Yuval Peres's lineage takes him back to Gauss and Leibniz, but we are not related.

1 comment:

  1. There is another issue: some people were advised
    by people who did not have a PhD.
    Bertrand Dreben never got a PhD.
    He was Harry Lewis's advisor.
    Harry Lewis was my advisor.
    Hence I do not go back to Euler or Gauss.

    I suspect this is somewhat common- going back to
    someone who does not have a PhD.


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