AAS

AstroGen

The Astronomy Genealogy Project (AstroGen) will list as many as possible of the world's astronomers with their academic parents (also known as thesis advisors, supervisors, promotors, directors, or guides) and enable the reader to trace both academic ancestors and descendants. It will be similar to the highly successful Mathematics Genealogy Project. The MGP, which has been in operation since 1996, now contains the names of more than 235,000 “mathematicians.” These include many physicists and astronomers, as well as practitioners of related sciences. Mitchel Keller, the director of the MGP, has generously shared information about that project, and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) will host AstroGen, a project of the AAS Historical Astronomy Division, on its website.

Another benefit of the Project is that it will enable historians and sociologists of science to gather a great deal of information about the community of those who have earned doctorates with astronomy-related theses.

Although the results are not yet visible, a small group of us, the “AstroGen Team,” has been working on developing the Project. We have entered more than 28,000 astronomy-related dissertations into a temporary database, taking advantage of the fact that many universities and some countries have posted such information—often the full dissertations—online. We are working on our list of universities that have granted doctorates, and we are dealing with questions regarding what information to list when AstroGen takes its place on this website in a format somewhat similar to that of the MGP.

As of 19 August 2019 we have nearly complete lists of modern doctorates, from 1853 through early 2019, of astronomy-related doctorates awarded by the following countries:

CountryUniversitiesDoctorates
United States19115 003
United Kingdom624 295
Spain 341 174
Netherlands 101 081
Canada 25948
Australia17925
Sweden8396
Greece 7239
Argentina5238
Finland5206
Israel5166
South Africa 8146
Ireland6120
Denmark2113
New Zealand 5108
Norway483
Chile455
Iran530
Estonia120
Pakistan 815
Hong Kong 312
Nigeria 110
Mauritius 15
Ethiopia 13
Iceland 13
total41925 395

Note that these numbers are just for the 25 countries we consider nearly complete. We have recorded many more theses, including more than 1000 for Germany and 2000 for France, as well, but these countries are not nearly complete. The number of universities is the number of institutions that have awarded doctorates for astronomy-related theses. The definition of "astronomy-related" is discussed in “Introducing AstroGen: The Astronomy Genealogy Project”. The numbers have been corrected so that a doctorate awarded jointly by two universities in the same country is counted only once. However, a degree awarded by two universities in different countries appears in the above list for both.

We are looking for help. We are especially seeking volunteers who are familiar with the languages and, preferably, the academic cultures of countries not listed above. France is only about half completed with some 2000 theses entered. How about taking on Italy, Russia, or almost any Asian country? If you would like to become a member of the team, contributing as much or little time as you wish, please contact me at astrogendirector@aas.org.

Publications and Talks about Astrogen

Joseph S. Tenn
Director, AstroGen Project




by JST
email: astrogendirector@aas.org