Thursday, February 14, 2013

Academic Geneology: "ChemisTree"

Source: Chemistry Tree
Have I been living under a rock? How has the Chemistry Tree escaped me for so long?

Apparently, there's a crowd-sourced, Creative Commons-enabled effort to catalog everyone's academic* genealogy in one easy location. Looks like it spouted from the (much larger) Neurotree, which started up in 2005 and boasts some 38,000 members!

Now, I've seen departments do this for their own faculty - which always seems to trace everyone back to Liebig - but never to this extent. There's a "Closest Nobel" button, so you can see how far removed you are from the Prize, and you can view the "Academic Canopy," which gives a birds-eye overview of all the fields currently cataloged.

Far as I can tell, there's a lot of the "big wheels" already plugged in, but several young up-and-comers are missing. Can you help fill in the branches?

*Nature abhors a vaccum, and I don't see anyone creating an "Industry Tree" (LinkedIn, perhaps?), though it would be fun to see where all the non-academics end up, and who they mentor.


  1. Neat, looks like we finally caught up with the mathematicians.

  2. I was able to put together my academic genealogy a few years ago - Michigan State compiled it for all of their chemistry faculty members around 2002, and since my PhD supervisor did his PhD there, it was easy for me to find. I noticed that most of MSU's information, at least for my own tree, is on the Chemistry Tree site that you linked to.

    When I was a faculty member a few years ago, I thought of putting together a lecture that would be a journey through my academic genealogy, focussing on the evolution of science and some stories. It would make links between the names that every science student should know (LaVoisier, Dumas), and those that aren't so famous (me). Maybe I'll still put that together in the future.