On a whim today, I decided to trace my academic family tree (i.e. my Ph.D. supervisor being my academic parent; their supervisor, my academic grandparent … and so forth). I was stunned to get back to the early 1600s, before the English Civil War, and with some illustrious scientists in my academic heritage line.

Ian G Stimpson (Cardiff – geophysics)

Robert G Pearce (Newcastle – geophysics)

Ronald W Girdler 1930-2001 (Cambridge – geophysics)

Edward C Bullard 1907-1980 (Cambridge – nuclear physics)

Patrick M S Blackett 1897–1974 (Cambridge – nuclear physics)

Ernest Rutherford 1871–1937 (Cambridge – nuclear physics)

Joseph J Thomson 1856-1940 (Cambridge – nuclear physics)

Edward John Routh 1831–1907 (Cambridge – mathematics)

William Hopkins 1793–1866 (Cambridge – mathematics)

Adam Sedgwick 1785-1873 (Cambridge – geology)

Thomas Jones 1756–1807 (Cambridge – mathematics)

John Cranke 1746-1816 (Cambridge – mathematics)

Thomas Postlethwaite 1731-1798 (Cambridge – mathematics)

Stephen Whisson ?-1783 (Cambridge – mathematics)

Walter Taylor c1700-1743/4 (Cambridge – mathematics)

Robert Smith 1689-1768 (Cambridge – mathematics)

Roger Cotes 1682—1716 (Cambridge – mathematics)

Isaac Newton 1642-1727 (Cambridge – mathematics)

Isaac Barrow 1630–1677 (Cambridge – mathematics)

James Duport 1606-1697 (Cambridge – classics)

Robert Hitch ?-1677 (Cambridge – ?)

… truly standing on the shoulders of giants.

Excellent post. I’ve seen few geological academic lineages, but I did one for myself a little while back. I didn’t get as far as Isaac Newton and the others, but Cuvier and Agassiz showed up (I took liberties with the strict rules of a lineage to get there). It can be seen at http://geotripper.blogspot.com/2008/08/accretionary-wedge-carnival-late.html

Neat! How did you manage to do this? The internet? I tried doing the same but couldn’t go past 2 degrees of separation!

This is a really neat idea! That’s great that you can trace it back that far!