If you have not heard of Paul Erdos, you can skip reading further.
I am not kidding.
I was enjoying a nice Hendrick’s (Cucumber Gin) Martini — with cucumber, of course — at the Edgeworth Club, not thinking about math. I got an email that I am one of Erdos Number Three.
Clearly, Erdos Number Zero is Erdos. His co-authors are Erdos Number One. Then, the network expands, and then explodes.
Out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to see who else is Erdos Number Three. Here are twenty famous names that I recognize.
A: Kenneth Arrow (whose inventory work I ridiculed in my 2013 writeup!)
B: Charles H. Bennett (met him at the IBM party at APS this year in Boston!), Hans Bethe
D: Eugene Dynkin (taught me Mathematical Analysis at Cornell)
F: Enrico Fermi
G: Murray Gell-Mann, Alexander Grothondieck
J: Vaughn Jones
K: Daniel Kahnemann
M: Maryam Mirzakhani
N: John von Neumann
O: Lars Onsanger
P: Roger Penrose
R: Alvin E. Roth (Hi, Al!)
S: Lloyd Shapley, Herbert Simon
T: Sridhar Tayur🤷🏽♂️
U: Karen Uhlenbeck
V: Lelsie Valiant
W: Hermann Weyl
Z: Lotfi A. Zadeh
RIP, Paul Erdos!