Many famous scientists are connected by their doctorate advisor-student relations. I wonder if we know which is the largest continuous chain of famous researchers. I have checked pages like academictree.org but tracing back the genealogy can rapidly get you into dead ends. Also sometimes senior academic collaborators are counted as advisor but I wanted to find a genealogy of purely doctorate advisors or equivalent degrees.

Update: https://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/extrema.php has some indications of the extrema of their tree but seems mainly focused on mathematics.

  • $\begingroup$ It is probably field-dependent. In math, genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu will likely trace one's academic ancestry to 14th century. $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2021 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MoisheKohan the problem is that sometimes the advisors may come from different or mixed scientific fields. $\endgroup$
    – Mauricio
    Jul 23, 2021 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ Once you go beyond 19th century, the border between math and non-math gets blurred, while once you get to 16th century, the borders between philosophy, science and theology get blurred as well. If you want to get an idea of the length of a longest (vertical) chain, take a look at one of the samples they give, here: The top of the chain is listed at 1380 (Gemistos). For the record, when I traced my math ancestry, it went two steps further than that, to Nilos Kabasilas. $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2021 at 20:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Moishe Kohan: This site goes back way further than the last time I looked way back. I got one branch back to Nilos Kabasilas also, but it keeps going the way to Sharaf al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī. Along the way (for me) was Weierstrass and Leibnitz. Apparently I'm also in the largest tree for the site (see also this search). $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2021 at 21:43
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    $\begingroup$ You do not define who qualifies as a "famous researcher". The math genealogy three is also not well defined. PhD is relatively recent invention, so spreading the notion of "PhD adviser" to all times and all countries is not sound. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2021 at 1:07


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