Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Hilary Putnam and Natalie Portman

Here's a riddle:
What do Hilary Putnam and Natalie Portman have in common?
Why, of course, they share talents in common. They are among the very, very few to have Erdos-Bacon numbers--indeed, these two have the same Erdos-Bacon number of 6.

An Erdos number of 1 refers to coauthorship with the mathematician Paul Erdos, (an Erdos number of 2 belongs to those who have coauthored with an Erdos coauther, and so on).

Degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon are calculated by appearing in a performance or film in which Kevin Bacon also appeared.

Hilary Putnam has an Erdos number of 3 (and if anyone can show the coauthorship path in comments, I'd be interested), and a Bacon number of 3 from having appeared as himself in the documentary film Julia Robinson and Hilbert's Tenth Problem.

Natalie Portman has a Bacon number of 1. As an undergraduate at Harvard, she co-authored a paper in neuroscience, giving her an Erdos number of 6. She also won a Westinghouse Prize (Intel Science Talent Search)--making a unique combination with her Oscar for Best Actress.

Not surprisingly, xkcd has illustrated the Erdos-Bacon dream.


Richard Zach said...

Hilary Putnam coauthored with Marian Boykan Pour-El MR0207555 (34 #7370)
Marian Boykan Pour-El coauthored with Ian Richards MR0521457 (80d:03059)
Ian Richards coauthored with Paul Erdős1 MR0439785 (55 #12669)


Evelyn Brister said...


Evelyn Brister said...

So Richard, Erdos #4, I've been missing the LogBlog. Any plans to return?

Richard Zach said...

I thought I was doing ok with posts recently!

Richard Zach said...

PS: About Erdös numbers

Evelyn Brister said...

Am I looking in the wrong place? Can I get an update? I see no dates after April 2010 here:

Evelyn Brister said...

Ah, Richard, I have now found it and am feeling regret and disappointment at having missed months of your posts!
URL: http://www.ucalgary.ca/rzach/blog

But also am feeling joy to see the clear treatment of stats on women--and useful to me at just the right time, as I need to write something up about this.

The thing is, that once at the old URL, the links on that page to LogBlog and LogBlog Home don't redirect to the new site.

Richard Zach said...

Ok I think the old pages now all redirect.