Your Erdos-Bacon Number?
March 15, 2010 10:03 PM   Subscribe

Everyone knows about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, right? Pursuant to this authoritative source I learned of Erdos numbers, which are fascinating in their own right, but not nearly as much as Erdos-Bacon numbers. Sir Alec Guiness does surprisingly well with a 3. Bacon does not.

My apologies if everyone else is aware of this wonderful system and I'm the last to catch on.
posted by Elagabalus (60 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Liberalizing Erdős-Bacon Numbers.
posted by kenko at 10:14 PM on March 15, 2010


Elagabalus, you rotten bastard! I was really looking forward to going to bed tonight!
posted by yiftach at 10:20 PM on March 15, 2010



posted by arcolz at 10:26 PM on March 15, 2010


My Erdos and Bacon numbers are both infinite, but I have a Morphy number of 6.
posted by Chuck Carroll at 10:33 PM on March 15, 2010


I just spent way too much time trying to stump the six-degrees engine. My favorite attempt came from linking Bjork to Alex Winter.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:34 PM on March 15, 2010


Okay, so I was able to stump it, finally, with Tommy Wiseau (of The Room infamy) to Shane Carruth (of Primer semi-fame) but that seems kind of trivial. Has anyone been able to stump it with anything more entertaining?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:44 PM on March 15, 2010


My Erdos and Bacon numbers are undefined, but in the music world my Zorn and Cage numbers are both 2.
posted by idiopath at 10:44 PM on March 15, 2010


MEH
posted by lalochezia at 10:51 PM on March 15, 2010


I learned about Erdos in the fascinating - if slightly dated (2002!) - book Linked (first 50 pages on Google Books) by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. It's a primer on the historical origins of graph theory and network theory, and gives the back-story to the widespread appearance of "power laws" in both the natural and social worlds.

The whole book starts with Erdos, and a contemporary, and builds on his ideas as they evolved over the century that followed. It's especially interesting because, while the book is set in the interregnum between the Web bubble and the emergence of Web 2.0, it explains ideas that would later find fruition in sites like Facebook (the ultimate test of social graph theory, its results alas still hidden), and in tropes like Chris Anderson's ill-fated Long Tail (a power law by another name).

Worth a read, if you get the chance.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:56 PM on March 15, 2010


my bacon # is 4 and my dad is a hungarian mathematician - but it skipped a generation and I'm too stupid to figure out my erdos
posted by victors at 10:57 PM on March 15, 2010


For the Bacon game:

John Waters was in Seed of Chucky with Brad Dourif who was in Heaven's Gate with Joseph Cotten who was in Since You Went Away with Shirley Temple.

Leslie Nielsen was in Scary Movie film series with Shannon Elizabeth who was in The Grand with Werner Herzog.

Norman Mailer was in Maidstone with Rip Torn who was in Down Periscope with Harry Dean Stanton who was in Twister with William S. Burroughs.

Laurie Anderson was in Something Wild with Tracey Walter who was in Drowning Mona with Danny DeVito who was in Austin Powers: Goldmember with Britney Spears.
posted by idiopath at 10:58 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


My Erdos number is 3.

Soon enough, someone who has an Erdos number of 2 or 1 will pop in, with a much better story to tell, but I figured I'd make a grab for the glory before that happens.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:02 PM on March 15, 2010


I have an Erdos number of 4 but no Bacon number. One you people with a Bacon number should give me a call, we'll record ourselves co-authoring a paper, post it to YouTube, and walk right into the history books.
posted by cmonkey at 11:04 PM on March 15, 2010


I've got an Erdos number of 2....but an Erdos-Bacon number of infinity.
posted by leahwrenn at 11:10 PM on March 15, 2010


Bacon: 4
Erdős: 6
Total: 10

Funnily (?), all these connections are a result of living in Eugene, Oregon.
posted by librarina at 11:20 PM on March 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Weird, I was just reading the wikipedia article on this the other day, after reading this thread
posted by delmoi at 12:12 AM on March 16, 2010


It's the Namedropomatic.

I'm not playing unless we convert to Celsius. The Minus Fourteen Point Four Four Degrees of Kevin Bacon. And that's about as close as I want to get.
posted by pracowity at 12:25 AM on March 16, 2010


There's this calculator too, previously linked on mefi, significantly simpler than the engine I linked to previously. In case you missed it,
posted by Elagabalus at 12:32 AM on March 16, 2010


4
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:33 AM on March 16, 2010


Sorry, 4 is my Erdős number.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:35 AM on March 16, 2010


I have an Erdos number of 4 but no Bacon number. One you people with a Bacon number should give me a call

I have a Bacon number of 3*, but no Erdos number. I'm wondering now if something like the Deskology thread would count for the purposes of academic collaboration.

*But not according to FindTheBacon.com, which doesn't accept the existence of minor performers like me and doesn't seem able to tell that Chris Noth in My One and Only is the same person as in Baby Boom where he's credited as Christopher Noth. I prefer The Oracle, which pulls info directly from IMDB.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:36 AM on March 16, 2010


I'm not playing unless we convert to Celsius. The Minus Fourteen Point Four Four Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Or the two fifty nine point something degrees Kelvin Bacon.
posted by qvantamon at 1:01 AM on March 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm also an Erdos 4. We need to make Metafilter:The Movie right now.
posted by handee at 1:05 AM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


And of course, if you're using sensible units and sub-freeze temperatures, that's Canadian Bacon you're talking aboot.
posted by qvantamon at 1:07 AM on March 16, 2010


Erdos 5.
If only I'd seen this thread a couple hours ago; I just submitted the final copy of a conference paper. I could have thrown you all on as co-authors. Erdos 6's for all!
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:16 AM on March 16, 2010


Erdos # is 3 here. I strongly suspect my Bacon number is relatively low, too...
posted by spiderskull at 2:25 AM on March 16, 2010


Chebyshev said it and Erdős said it again

There's always a prime between n and 2n.
posted by Tube at 2:36 AM on March 16, 2010


Erdos 5 here. Not bad for a biochemist.
No Bacon Number, I am not pretty enough.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 2:54 AM on March 16, 2010


My Bacon number is 3. What do I win?
posted by Eumachia L F at 3:21 AM on March 16, 2010


OK then, does anyone have an Erdős-Bacon-Kibo number?
posted by plant at 4:01 AM on March 16, 2010


Okay, this is silly. What is needed is a Google number. You input your name. Someone else's. How many degrees? This is the only way non-famous folk can properly Bacon.

(Gosh, this is is a good idea! If I stick it up on the Blue, someone will monetize it within minutes. Oh, what the hell, give it to 'em...)
posted by CCBC at 4:17 AM on March 16, 2010


I like bacon but I only ate one erdo before spitting it out.
posted by DU at 5:07 AM on March 16, 2010


I have an Elvis number of 4.
posted by Jode at 5:07 AM on March 16, 2010


I am not a number! I am a free man!
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:12 AM on March 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was introduced to the concept of Erdos numbers by Cedric Smith, who himself had an Erdos number of 2. Cedric was one of the legendary Trinity Four, with Rowland Brooks, Arthur Stone and Bill Tutte, who published a series of classic mathematical papers under the pseudonym Blanche Descartes. His stories about Erdos always boggled my mind slightly, as Cedric was, by a considerable distance, the most eccentric person I have ever met, and if he thought that Erdos was eccentric ..

I regret not spending more time talking to Cedric, but I was very young in those days and hadn't learned to cherish eccentricity as I do now. I wish I'd written down some of his reminiscences, particularly now I reflect that I could have acquired an Erdos number of 3 just by editing and publishing them.
posted by verstegan at 5:30 AM on March 16, 2010


My eriko number is 0. Bitches.

(Aw, I can't hate you....You all have eriko# of 1 now!)
posted by eriko at 5:44 AM on March 16, 2010


Is this thread something I'd need to have a distinguished career to enjoy?

weeps quietly
posted by Deathalicious at 5:59 AM on March 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


eriko: "Bitches."

My "your mother" number is 1.
posted by idiopath at 6:00 AM on March 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm a Bacon 3 but only if you allow for TV shows since I've never been in a movie.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:11 AM on March 16, 2010


I'm not an actor, but I have met the late Edmund Bacon (Kevin's Dad) and I had Kevin Bacon's pants hanging in my office for a week or two once.

I'm not sure what that works out to, other than a mildly interesting anecdote.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:18 AM on March 16, 2010


A great many folks in the comics industry have met Adam West, at least briefly, at one point or another. (I myself have not, but I'm merely comics-industry–adjacent.)

Adam West, of course, knew Alan Napier, who was television's Alfred Pennyworth.

Alan Napier was Neville Chamberlain's cousin.

And Neville Chamberlain AOOGAH AOOGAH GODWIN NUMBER APPROACHING ONE
posted by kipmanley at 6:22 AM on March 16, 2010


Through my acting, I have a Kevin Bacon number of two. I also have published 20 scientific articles, several of which are mathematically oriented. I'm guessing an Erdos number of three, but it would be hell to try to look up my co-authors, all of their papers and all of their co-authors and then trying to connect those to Erdos' coauthors. Still, I'll stand by the number five.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:26 AM on March 16, 2010


I have a bacon number of 3 (ironically, that's through a Cruise number of 2)
but....I can't do math
therefore I suck at this.
posted by HuronBob at 6:32 AM on March 16, 2010


"I'm not sure what that works out to, other than a mildly interesting anecdote."

well, perhaps a rather strange perversion, but we don't have enough details about the pants yet to determine that..
posted by HuronBob at 6:33 AM on March 16, 2010


I'm a Bacon 3 but only if you allow for TV shows since I've never been in a movie.

Shoot, I'm allowing for theater for mine. Not that I ever appeared on stage, but I've been backstage as everything from script girl to stage manager. And at least half the actors I've worked with on shows then went on to be in either The Sopranos or one of the Law and Order shows. However:

Kevin Bacon was in "Sleepers" with actor Peter Gerety. And Peter was in an attempted stage adaptation of a Leon Uris book -- and I was Uris' assistant. (I never appeared on the stage, but I gave everyone their line notes every day.) So Peter would give me a Bacon 2.

(If you want a show in which I actually did something more meaty, I was stage manager for another show which starred an actor named David Mogantale [best known for being on THE SOPRANOS for 2 episodes as a football coach]. David was in "Arresting Gena" with Peter Gerety. So that'd be a Bacon 3.)

....However, my grasp on higher mathematics is prettty damn tenuous. So any Bacon number would be offset by an astronomical Erdos number in my case, so hell with it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:39 AM on March 16, 2010


(Psst, dances_with_sneetches: put in your name and click the "Use Erdos" button here.)
posted by dorque at 6:43 AM on March 16, 2010


I rarely log in to comment on MeFi from work, but I couldn't resist. For me:
Erdos: 6
Bacon: 3

Erdos-Bacon: 9

Suck it!!

I wish I got to bring this up more often...
posted by telegraph at 6:45 AM on March 16, 2010


well, perhaps a rather strange perversion, but we don't have enough details about the pants yet to determine that..

Sadly, no. He was shooting a movie in my town and my office was a catch-all storage space for the production for a couple of weeks. The pants somehow got hung on my coat rack, and I made small museum-style name card for them. See? Mildly interesting. Just like it says on the tin.

However, I just realized that some of my art was in a movie with Patty Duke, which gives me a Bacon number of 3 (sorta).

To continue this weird digression: I'm always interested in who each field's Kevin Bacon is. I've wondered aloud about this on occasion. I'm pretty sure the art world's Kevin Bacon is Picasso. As I've got works in collections with his works, I'm gonna go ahead and give myself a Picasso number of 1.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:12 AM on March 16, 2010


My Erdos and Bacon numbers are undefined, but in the music world my Zorn and Cage numbers are both 2.

Surprisingly, me too, and I'm not even in the music world.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:22 AM on March 16, 2010


I'm always interested in who each field's Kevin Bacon is.

My question is, who are the MetaFilter equivalents of Erdős and Bacon? We had previously messed around with figuring out people's mathowie number, based on the shortest chain of mutual contact links between you and him. Maybe we should be trying to calculate a klangston-cortex number?
posted by FishBike at 7:30 AM on March 16, 2010


I once heard a story that two mathematicians spent some effort computing the graph of edges between people with Erdos numbers, where an edge existed if two people had published together. There was no edge between the two mathematicians, and they found that if there were one, it would greatly reduce the distance between a lot of people in the graph. So they published a paper about it.

However, a small amount of googling turns up nothing. I'd love to know if it's true.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:49 AM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pfft. If Erdős numbers require names appearing together on the front page of a published paper, Bacon numbers should require names appearing together on the movie poster. None of this uncredited/extra/appearing-as-self nonsense; that's like basing Erdős numbers on bibliographies.

But the Aaron-Erdős baseball totally counts.

[My Erdős number is 3. I don't have a Bacon number, but my Bozo-the-Clown number is 1.]
posted by erniepan at 8:28 AM on March 16, 2010


My Erdős-Bacon number is 6. That beats everyone here so far (yeah, I know dances_with_sneetches claims that he totally has a Erdős-Bacon number of five but can't prove it, but I'm not going to count that).
posted by grouse at 8:46 AM on March 16, 2010


My Erdős number is ∞ + 1, so I think I'm actually the winningest.
posted by invitapriore at 10:31 AM on March 16, 2010


I'm working on getting an Erdős number of -1. It's going to be difficult, and may involve a shovel.

I'll keep you posted.
posted by quin at 11:14 AM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Erdős has a jonesor number of 6.
posted by jonesor at 12:00 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have an unofficial Bacon number of 3, but that movie (made for the 48-hour film festival, unfortunately with a group that didn't get along (me included)) was so awful it will never see the light of day again. Since it's not on IMDB or anything, I guess it doesn't count. But you might be able to get Ava Santana to admit to having acted with us idiotic dweebs if you ever happen to run into her.

I wish I had an Erdos number, but despite my interest in all things science, I'm really still just a coder.

Congrats, Brian Greene. Add that to your list of accomplishments, along with the bestseller and the documentary and the string theory successes and the I hate you.
posted by Xezlec at 9:35 PM on March 16, 2010


Review of The Man Who Loved Only Numbers:
When friends urged him to slow down, he always had the same response: "There'll be plenty of time to rest in the grave."
Not if quin can help it.
posted by pracowity at 1:59 AM on March 17, 2010


dmd coauthored Distinguishing conjoint and independent neural tuning for stimulus features with fMRI adaptation with Geoffrey K. Aguirre

Geoffrey K. Aguirre coauthored Neural activity within area V1 reflects unconscious visual performance in a case of Blindsight with David H. Brainard

David H. Brainard played the part of Samuel Allison in Fat Man and Little Boy with John Cusack

John Cusack was in Adaptation with Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep was in The River Wild with Kevin Bacon



And then there's this:

dmd coauthored with Geoffrey K Aguirre
Geoffrey K Aguirre coauthored with Eric Zarahn
Eric Zarahn coauthored with Karl J Friston
Karl J. Friston coauthored with Michael Breakspear MR2003883
Michael Breakspear coauthored with Jalal M. Fadili MR2005443
Jalal M. Fadili coauthored with David L. Donoho MR2472409
David L. Donoho coauthored with Charles Kam-tai Chui MR2238663
Charles Kam-tai Chui coauthored with Paul Erdős MR0481706 (58 #1805)
posted by dmd at 2:40 AM on March 20, 2010


Just by chance I've discovered that I have Bacon number too! So I have an Erdős-Bacon number. It's 8. My mother will be so proud!
posted by jonesor at 5:31 PM on March 23, 2010


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