In the first comment to Saturday's Pi(e) post, Kathy Lewis asked about the math legacy of my mother (the one who introduced Kathy to strawberry-rhubarb pie). This inspired the genealogist in me to answer the question visually. (Click image to enlarge. Family members, please send me corrections as needed.)
Math-related fields clearly run in the family, by marriage as well as by blood. Some other facts of note:
- Most of the grandchildren (and all of the great-grandchildren, not shown in the chart) have not yet graduated from college. Their intended fields, where known, are shown in italics. One is very close to graduation, so I've left him unitalicised.
- In each generation from my parents through my children, there's been an even split between mathematics and engineering. However, with the next generation at nine and counting, I doubt that trend will continue.
- The other fields don't come out of nowhere: both of my parents had a vast range of interests.
- With one short-term exception in a time of need, every woman represented here clearly recognized motherhood as her primary and most important vocation, forsaking the money and prestige that come with outside employment to be able to attend full time to childrearing and making a good home. Every family must make its own choice between one good and another; this is not a judgement on other people's choices. Nonetheless, homemaking and motherhood as careers are seriously undervalued these days, so it's worth noting when such a cluster of women all choose to focus their considerable intelligence and education on the next generation. As daughter, wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother, I'm grateful for the choices these families (fathers as much as mothers) have made.
- Engineering is a long-time family heritage. My father's father (born 1896) was a mechanical engineer, and the first chairman of that department at Washington State University. His father (born 1854) was a civil engineer.
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