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Who was PhD advisor of Prager?

Zhigang Suo's picture

I have been asking colleagues this question for some time.  I was a Ph.D. student of John W. Hutchinson, who was a Ph.D. student of Bernard Budiansky, who was a Ph.D. student of William Prager.  But for years, the Mathematics Genealogy Project listed the advisor for Prager as “unknown”.

At the ASME Congress in Vancouver this year, Kyung-Suk Kim mentioned to me that his daughter, Clare, an undergraduate student at Brown University, was conducting a research project on the history of Applied Mathematics in the United States, a history in which Prager played a significant role.  Sure enough, she sent an email:  the missing advisor has been found, on the website of Mathematics Genealogy Project.  Two advisors are listed for Prager: Wilhelm Schlink and Emil Kammer.  Tracing back from Schlink, following the first advisor when multiple advisors are listed, I found Parger’s genealogy:

The website lists the advisor for Lebniz as “unknown”.

“We are not disappointed in our ancestors,” I said to Alan Needleman, who was in Vancouver and was also a student of Hutchinson.

“But they might be disappointed in us,” said Alan.


Teng Li's picture

A lunar eclipse happened on the solstice of this year, 21 Dec. 2010, a rare event that occurred 372 years ago last time and won't happen for another 84 years. I read a post at CNN news blog right before the rare event, saying that such an event suggests that now is the time for reflection and introspection. As 2010 is moving in our rear view mirror, it is also time for retrospection. For that, thanks for the post at the perfect time.

Just hope they are not too disappointed in us.  

Interesting. But what about those rise from unknown. Billionaires rise from nothing in hand, so do scholars. In that case, a new root sprouts?   

Julien Yvonnet's picture

Thanks prof. Suo for the link to  Mathematics Genealogy Project, this website is fascinating. Is anyone aware of a similar website for mechanicians ? If not I think someone sould do it, why not through Imechanica ?

Zhigang Suo's picture

Dear Julien:  Thank you for the suggestion.  Here is a quick way to start a Mechanics Genealogy Project.

Libb Thims's picture

The mathematics genealogy project has always impressed me. I was the one that wrote the Wikipedia article on Harrry Coonce, the originator of the project. On a similar note, earlier this year, after reading the curious statement that American engineer Willard Gibbs is the “principle third generation thermodynamicist”, made by American physics historian and chemist William Cropper, I decided to map out the outline of the generations of thermodynamicists. Myself, I am an eighth generation thermodynamicist.

I'm still working to figure out how Euler connects to the thermodynamics generations tree and in particular who developer of the "exact differential" and in particular the "condition for an exact differential", as this predates thermodynamics, and Clausius does not cite anyone for his section on mathematical preliminaries. The use of the both terms “exact differential” and “complete differential”, to note, were in common use in 1841. My guess thus far is that Clausius may have been citing German mathematician Johann Pfaff (1765-1825), and his Pfaffian form, but I'm still working on this puzzle?

sir suo

    pls tell me about how i tuned two actuator having different density.the geometrical dimension of two actuator are weight of actuator 1 is 100g and actuator 2 is it possible by matching mechanical impedance or any other way.


Zheng Jia's picture

Earlier today, I was giving a lecture on frontier research in mechanics to the sophomore at Zhejiang University. During the lecture, I spent several minutes talking about our academic ancestors, from Klein to Gauss and finally to Friedrich Leibniz. Unfortunately, I just realized I mistakenly recognized Friedrich Leibniz as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz who 'invented' calculus independently of Newton. Actually, Friedrich Leibniz was the father of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. The lesson I learned is that I need to be very careful otherwise I may identify wrong ancestors.

For a while, I was a little bit concerned about if Wilhelm Schlink really was Prager's advisor since it is hard to find information (and photo) about Wilhelm Schlink online in English. But I recently ran into a Wikipedia page written in German, saying Wilhelm Schlink moved to TU Darmstadt in 1921 and served as a professor of mechanics there until his retirement in 1948/1949. The information is consistent with the fact that Prager obtained his Dr.-Ing. at TU Darmstadt in 1926. I think my puzzle is resolved.

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