Your Academic Lineage

Over dinner the other night, my uncle and I started comparing and contrasting our academic experiences.  He’s a fascinating person who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science in the late 1970’s.

After discussing the finer points of Moore’s Law, and how he agonized over purchasing a 20 MB hard drive in the 1980’s for $400, the substance of the conversation switched.  “Have you ever researched your Ph.D. lineage,” he asked.

“I’ve gone as far back as Breslow,” I replied, completely forgetting that he probably didn’t know this “Breslow” character.

It turns out that several of his doctoral computer buddies had recently taken on this task, many of them somehow descending (academically) from Charles Babbage.

Our discussion prompted me to further examine my background.  I soon discovered that there are several University websites that provide chemistry academic lineage for their faculty members.  Being an organic chemist, I was interested to learn that E.J. Corey worked for John Sheehan (I admit it…I’m nerdly).  In any case, here are some websites I found interesting:


  1. Sometimes I think my boss (who made and maintains the Illinois genealogy site) is more interested in his pet projects than my research. I tend to agree.

  2. thanks for these links! pretty cool.

  3. Just checked mine out. My academic great grandfather is Robert Ireland (of Ireland Claisen fame). His academic grandfather is Louis Fieser, who has his own tree on the Illinois website. I can claim lineage all the way back to da Lonigo!

  4. Pingback: Everyday Scientist » academic genealogy

  5. Seth has put an incredible amount of work into our department’s genealogy. I think it is one of the most accurate ones out there. Thanks for linking it.

  6. Thanks for the comments about the NDSU academic genealogy. I will hopefully have a further updated version up soon. The most extensive one on the web (and fully searchable) is still the site posted at the Univ of Illinois. Vera and Greg have put a lot of work into that one and it is a great resource for the chemical community.

  7. good post, i will come back

  8. This is always a fun topic. In my undergrad lab there was a postdoc who had traced our academic lineage back to the 15th century through out PI!

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