Thursday, May 21, 2009

Erdös number

Could life be expressed as a set of numbers?

The Erdös number is probably part of such an attempt! The Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös [1913-1996] collaborated with hundreds of mathematicians during his life time - 511 to be precise, including a few Indians as well. They might have collaborated with others, and a network of collaborating mathematicians emerges. Erdös number is in honour of him. He himself is given number 0 and those who directly collaborated with him are assigned number 1. Those who never collaborated with Erdös, but had contributed papers with any of the 511 get number 2, so on and so forth. Just for fun, if you have contributed papers, you may try to trace your trail to Erdös and publish your Erdös number! Though this is a "humorous tribute" to the mathematician, it has a huge potential of bringing mathematics closer to social science improving quality of computations based on society.

A list of mathematicians with Erdös numbers 1, 2 and 3 are listed at:

Like the many have not joined that network, my Erdös # is infinity.