Let your heart guide you......It whispers so listen closely

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

keeping track of the lineage

Long back, when I was in M.Sc, while performing the Google search for one of the professors, I came across Mathematics Genealogy Project. I searched for few teachers I used to idealize then and about whom not much was known (like GBM), but could not get fruitful results. Last year, when I was already more professional in browsing, I stumbled into the same place. This time I was with Akanksha.

The fact that, once you get in, you can go on and on looking at the academic families, made it a very appealing & captivating.  More than once we have had jaw dropping experiences looking at unexpected lineages. One feels a sense of proud, when he realizes, who is the great-grand-daddy of his own family. But to our surprise, after some in-depth re-search of website we realized that not many entries belonged to the University of Pune. Even amongst these (14), Statisticians were hardly able to make a significant contribution, despite of the fact that actually our department has nurtured so many, well known for their work. For those who were there, the information was incomplete. 

A screenshot of the record for Uni Pune as per on 5th Oct 2010

And as you might have already guessed, we got motivation for including our ancestors in this project. We started with collecting the information from departmental library and inflibnet centre about past Ph.D. students of the department. The data typically included name of the guide, year of award and thesis title. The website gives user friendly forms for entering (correcting/updating) new (existing) data. We started somewhere in October.  Data entry took quite longer than expected, because we had generations to enter; and we moved to next only when the previous was published, which generally took 2-3 weeks from the time of making entry.

It turned out to be such an interesting experience, that we not only made entries for the folks who did doctoral research from this department, but few more in the vicinity (like CUSAT, NMU etc.), who were related to dept in some or the other way. So now overall count of entries made, stays little more than 75 (initially the count we targeted at was simply 25), though information about GBM still remains unknown.

The Project is amazing place for minds, curious like ours. Nowadays whenever we hear any new name in the field similar to ours (could be author of a book/research paper or developer of an R package ), we cannot resist ourselves from having a look at his/her clan. It is so much fun to realize different academic relations; like Billingsley was Feller’s student (OMG one could never picture that, given the books each of them authored), never imagined that Krishanu could be Resnick’s (author of Adventures in Stochastic Processes) student, there is my favorite Alok Goswami as Feller’s grandson, the man (Athreya) who was explaining the extinction probabilities other day, is Karlin’s academic son…!!! Another remarkable feature of the project is the MathSciNet links it automatically provides for the people in database.

It was really an immense and very innovative effort by Harry Coonce. An effort that needed lot of courage in the situations in which he had made his brainchild sustain. I salute his spirits. To read more about the history have a look at this article. We should all contribute to the project, by submitting information. Here is a  video which could demonstrate you its massiveness just in few minutes.

Note: Sometimes the website is not accessible due to technical errors. In such a case one may get access through the mirror sites available. Like at this moment I am in through AMS.

PS: I will get back to you with another similar joint venture (by me & AK) accomplished during my hibernation. In the meanwhile, you may go ahead and sneak a peek about your to-be-clan.

PS to PS: Once again, it has been 21 days, since I blogged. Irregularity is becoming a habit. Its not that I don’t have things to talk about; I am not even blank or thoughtless this time; but I am post-less. For me writing involves two steps. Firstly the generation of thoughts in the mind and then the actual movement for annealing those thoughts into words. I guess nowadays the threshold level required for that movement has increased so much, that energy of my spirits is hardly able to intersect the threshold. Anyways for now it looks that I have managed a temporary victory over my indolent-procrastinatory-being.

So when I was out there in hibernation, I was not completely cozy sleeping. This was a glimpse of what was happening.


chetan said...

Congrats to both of you!!!!
Good hard looking work!!!
Cheers for perfect duo!!

Richa said...

Finally, I read this today ,it was damn interesting , made it popular among some of my ofc mates too but realised the studious ones only can appreciate this .. Anyways, I am happy at your discovery...
Keep Going :)

Post a Comment