This is essentially a continuation to my previous question here. In one of the answers, it was proposed that I find people who did active research in the field I wanted to study and contacted them. My current question is, thus: how do I do this? Just googling "researchers in 'X area'" hasn't yielded many results...

Evidently, I can just search for random/prestigious universities, look up their research departments, and see if someone happens to have research interests which align with mine. But is there a better way?

Is there some sort of mathematics database of researchers by field of research, number of publications, university, etc? I'm finding it tough to discover good researchers on a field which my professors don't have a lot of contact with...

Thanks in advance!

  • 2
    Do you read papers in that field?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 20:11
  • @BryanKrause This is actually one of the issues of not knowing the field well: not knowing the fundamental papers in the field. Looking on ArXiv (at random, admittedly) I mostly found highly specific papers, which are, frankly, impossible to read for someone with little background. I try to get a general view, but anything deeper requires a lot of studying per paper...
    – Gauss
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 20:17
  • 2
    It seems bizarre to me to have interest in a field, but not know interesting papers in that field (then again, math as a general field is bizarre to me relative to my own area; I've learned a lot about the field from this SE site but some aspects I can't grok). How do you know you're interested in this area? What brought you there? Can you follow whatever that material is that brought you there? (for example, what recent papers cite that work)
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 20:21
  • @BryanKrause Mostly, what I have studied as an undergrad (i.e., books, not papers), which I can follow quite well. In math, however, I feel there is quite a big gap between "undergraduate book" and "research papers" in 99% of areas...
    – Gauss
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 20:31
  • I assume you want to do graduate study. What country (countries) are you looking at?
    – Buffy
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


Here is one approach, assuming you have access to MathSciNet.

MathSciNet allows you to search by MSC2020 code (MSC stands for Mathematics Subject Classification, it is a system assigning codes to each mathematics subfield). So you can find the code corresponding to your subfield, and then do a MathSciNet search for all papers published in the last 30 years or so with that classification code (use the "MSC Primary" search field), and then order the search by number of citations. I did this with my main research area's code (47B36, for "Jacobi (tridiagonal) operators (matrices) and generalizations") and the top papers in the search are authored by people like Barry Simon, Artur Avila, Svetlana Jitomirskaya, Rowan Killip, Christian Remling, and David Damanik, who are definitely people that I would consider the most important in my research area.

Here is a link to MathSciNet, and here is a website you can use to search for your subfield's MSC2020 classification code


There is a large list of number theorists at Number Theory Web.

The greater problem seems to be finding important results and contributors in your area of mathematics of interest though. You could also look up survey papers and go through the mentioned people or through the authors in the references.

This isn't ideal, but crawling through links on Wikipedia or Math Genealogy searches (once you have some significant topics, results, or people in mind) will probably give you more.

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