The Erdős-Bacon Number


What do Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, and Natalie Portman have in common?

They all have the same Erdős-Bacon number:  six.

Natalie Portman collaborated (as Natalie Hershlag) with Abigail A. Baird, who wrote mathematical papers in a further collaborative path which leads to Joseph Gillis. Gillis, having co-written a paper with Paul Erdős himself, has an Erdős number of one. This gives Portman an Erdös number of five. Bacon and Portman both appear a movie (which one?  See the details in this Wikipedia article:, which gives Portman a Bacon number of one.

The Erdős-Bacon number is simply the sum of these two numbers — hence Natalie Portman’s six:  five plus one.

Feynman’s and Sagan’s sixes are more balanced. Richard Feynman’s is the most so, since his Erdős and Bacon numbers are both three.

I haven’t been able to determine who first thought of an Erdős-Bacon number, but . . . wow. It came from the blogosphere (Where else?) — Wikipedia reveals that much.

Some blogger might be obsessive enough, someday, to exhaustively determine exactly how many people even have such numbers. However, that person will not be me.

About RobertLovesPi

I go by RobertLovesPi on-line, and am interested in many things, a large portion of which are geometrical. Welcome to my little slice of the Internet. The viewpoints and opinions expressed on this website are my own. They should not be confused with the views of my employer, nor any other organization, nor institution, of any kind.
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