Academic Lineage


Rick Blumenthal, Regis University

Not too long ago my Ph.D. advisor retired and our academic lineage came up. Basically, academic lineage traces one's 'ancestors' via a relation of who supervised their doctoral research. Needless to say, I'm the leaf. Note, the role of an official advisor has changed over the years. Finally, you can trace any mathematician's lineage at the Mathematics Genealogy Project site http://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu. I've also added a few comments as to some significant accomplishments of the individuals in my lineage. As you can see, I can essentially trace my lineage to Thomas Edison.

  • Gary Nutt advised Richard Blumenthal, at The University of Colorado (Boulder, CO USA) (Dissertation: Supporting Unstructured Activities with a Meta-Contextual Protocol in Situation-Based Workflow, 1998.) With Skip Ellis (see below), Gary essentially founded the field (IMHO) of process-based workflow.
  • Jerre D. Noe advised Gary Nutt, at The University of Washington, (Seattle, WA USA) (Dissertation: The Formulation and Application of Evaluation Nets, 1972.) Jerre led the team that designed the MICR encoding numbers on checks
  • William R. Hewlett advised Jerre D. Noe, at Stanford University, (Palo Alto, CA USA) (Dissertation: Gain Characteristics of Distributed Amplifiers, 1949.) With Packard, founded HP.
  • Frederick Emmons Terman advised William R. Hewlett, at Stanford University, (Palo Alto, CA USA) (Dissertation: A New Type Resistance-Capacity Oscillator, 1939.) Often referred to as the "Godfather Silicon Valley", the Engineering building at Stanford is named after Terman.
  • Vannevar Bush advised Frederick Emmons Terman, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (Cambridge, MA USA) (Dissertation: Characteristics and Stability of Transmission Systems, 1939.) Bush was a director of OSRD, which controlled the Manhattan Project, cofounder of Raytheon, and the inventor of Memex, a 1945 inspiration for hypertext, which then inspired the Web .
  • Arthur Edwin Kennely advised Vannevar Bush, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (Cambridge, MA USA) (Dissertation: Oscillating-current Circuits: An Extension of the Theory of Generalized Angular Velocities, with Applications to the Coupled Circuit and the Artificial Transmission Line, 1916.) Co-inventor of the Electric Chair, thus demonstrating the danger of alternating current.
  • Thomas Edison advised Arthur Edwin Kennely, at Edison's West Orange Lab, (West Orange, NJ USA) (Kennelly was self-taught Apprentice of Edison. 1887-1894) Inventor of phonograph, motion-picture camera, and practical light-bulb (1,903 patents).

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Skip (Clarence A.) Ellis who acted as co-advisor of mine at the University of Colorado. Skip in well-known, but may ultimately be remembered as the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in Computer Science (1969) (Dissertation: Probabilistic Languages and Automata, University of Illinois)