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I hope this question is not inappropriate for this site; I found hsm.stackexchange better suited for it than MathOverflow or math.stackexchange. The motivation for it is just curiosity.

Question: Which mathematical papers have been co-authored by people who were / are direct blood relatives (i.e. supposedly in most cases: siblings, or parent and child)?

Everyone knows the Bernoullis (among the famous ones of which there were also uncle-nephew and cousin relations), but I'm looking for more, and more contemporary, examples.

More generally, I would be interested in family collaboration, but I ask specifically for co-authored papers because that's the most obvious way to make the notion rigorous.

Also, I exclude collaboration between partners, spouses, married couples etc. on purpose, partly because I assume that list would be longer, and partly because such relations have (sometimes vague) start (or end) points in time, allowing discussion about whether a collaboration happened while the relationship existed or not; unless of course there might be an example where e.g. a parenting couple published something together with a child of theirs.

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    $\begingroup$ A family collaboration: Lionel and Roger Penrose published Impossible Objects, the famous "Tribar" but it is not strictly mathematical. $\endgroup$ – sand1 Feb 22 '19 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, I was wondering about Janos Bolyai whose father (Farkas) tried to keep him off from working on the parallel postulate - is this a collaboration? Ultimately it was published as an appendix to a textbook by Farkas Bolyai.. $\endgroup$ – sand1 Feb 22 '19 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ Tangentially related: Hetherington co-authored a paper with his cat FCC Willard. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._D._C._Willard I am not sure if you would consider it family but if you don't you might hurt some people's feelings :P $\endgroup$ – Dvij Mankad Mar 17 '19 at 2:15

11 Answers 11

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Check out these mathematicians: A father, and two sons, all of whom co-authored papers in various combinations.

David Borwein, father

Peter Borwein, son

Jonathan Borwein, son

Peter's memorial to his brother Jonahan, in which he speaks of writing papers together with his brother.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 Darn, I definitely should have remembered them, as I have quite a few papers by these guys! $\endgroup$ – Dave L Renfro Feb 22 '19 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know how I forgot them. $\endgroup$ – José Carlos Santos Feb 23 '19 at 0:07
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Elie and Henri Cartan (father and son) published a paper together, in 1931 (Les transformations des domaines cerclés bornés).

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Arthur Leonard Rubin co-authored at least two papers with his mother, Jean Estelle Hirsh Rubin, the first one below when he was 13 years old.

Arthur L. Rubin and Jean E. Rubin, Extended operations and relations on the class of ordinal numbers, Fundamenta Mathematicae 69 #2 (1969), 227-242.

Paul Howard, Arthur L. Rubin, and Jean E. Rubin, Kinna-Wagner selection principles, axioms of choice and multiple choice, Monatshefte für Mathematik 123 #4 (December 1997), 309-319.

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Luis Alvarez and his son Walter, and two other chemists, co-authored this 1980 paper on iridium levels at the K/T boundary. The Alvarezes conjectured the now widely accepted impact hypothesis explaining that extinction event.

Another example: Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers co-developed MBTI (I'll leave it to the reader to decide whether that is science).

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Brothers Marcel and Frigyes Riesz have a joint paper,

Brothers Rolf and Frithiof Nevanlinna have 6 joint papers.

Brothers Alexander and Alexei Zamolodchikov have 8 joint papers.

Brothers David and Gregory Chudnovsky have 80 joint papers.

This list can be made very long.

Father-son collaborations are not so frequent but Herman Weyl has a paper and a book written jointly with his son Joachim.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, "the F & M Riesz theorem" is quite well known. $\endgroup$ – Gerald Edgar May 9 '19 at 12:47
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Ken Ono published a paper with his father Takashi Ono in 1996: ``Quadratic forms and elliptic curves, III'' in Proc. Japan Acad. Ser. A Math. Sci. 72 (1996), no. 9, 204–205.

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Richard K. Guy - well known for work in recreational mathematics, and son Michael J. T. Guy - computer scientist and mathematician, co-published the paper "On rational Morley triangles" in Acta Arithmetica.

Authors: Bremner, Andrew; Goggins, Joseph R.; Guy, Michael J. T.; Guy, R. K. (2000).

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There are four Polish brothers ( Ryszard, Pawel, Michal and Karol Horodecki) all working in quantum information science, and they have several common papers.

Their most cited paper (with $>5000$ Google Scholar citations at the time of writing) is

Horodecki, R., Horodecki, P., Horodecki, M., & Horodecki, K. (2009). Quantum entanglement. Reviews of modern physics, 81(2), 865.

This one (without brother Karol)

Horodecki, Michał, Paweł Horodecki, and Ryszard Horodecki. "Separability of n-particle mixed states: necessary and sufficient conditions in terms of linear maps." Physics Letters A 283.1-2 (2001): 1-7.

has collected a little under 4000 Google citations at the time of writing.

They also all work at Gdańsk University.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ha I remember seeing references like this in quantum information and being struck by them $\endgroup$ – Tom Mar 31 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Tom they are very well known for truly pioneering work in that field. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Mar 31 at 2:21
  • $\begingroup$ Quantum information theory per se is not something that really interests me, I just mention that I have glanced at bibliographies in the area and noticed this. I do not know who the pioneers and 'big players' in the field are. $\endgroup$ – Tom Mar 31 at 2:26
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Greg Kuperberg, mathematician and son of the couple of mathematicians Wlodymierz and Krystina Kuperberg, published, separately, a paper with his father on geometric combinatorics, at the very start of his career (1990) and later on a relevant paper (Annals of Math - 1996) on counterxamples to the Seifert conjecture with his mother. Later on he published yet another paper with his father and a third coauthor.

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I am aware that this is a physics answer rather than mathematics, but in science probably the most famous example is William Bragg and son Lawrence Bragg who did pioneering experimental work with X-rays. They are so far the only father-son team to win a Nobel Prize and Lawrence remains the youngest person to ever win a Nobel Prize in Physics, being aged only 25.

I was also going to mention the Kuperbergs, but I have seen someone else has already mentioned them.

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Arto Salomaa and his son Kai Salomaa both work in theoretical computer science. They have several joint research papers. An notable example is the following:

Tao Jiang, Arto Salomaa, Kai Salomaa, Sheng Yu: Decision Problems for Patterns. Journal of Computer and System Sciences 50(1): 53-63 (1995)

Marcin and Michał Philipczuk are brothers. They work together very often - and their dblp records already show more than 100 joint publications. To give an example:

Marek Cygan, Daniel Lokshtanov, Marcin Pilipczuk, Michał Pilipczuk, and Saket Saurabh: Minimum Bisection Is Fixed-Parameter Tractable. SIAM Journal on Computíng, 48(2), 417–450.

(I assume that theoretical computer science papers qualify as mathematical papers, since they contain mathematical theorems and rigorous proofs.)

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