Erdos Number Three

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If you have not heard of Paul Erdos, you can skip reading further.

Like “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” there is now a “Three degrees of Paul Erdos.”

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!


  1. Congratulations.

  2. Hi Sridhar, Great stuff! I’m an Erdos 3 too (and a Bacon 3 but I count a high school play with one of my classmates, Pippa Pearthree, who became an actress).

    1. Indeed, Senthil (at Wharton) and I were discussing a Bacon-Erdos number….so you are the first on that list!

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