Erdős-Bacon number

This morning I was curious to see whether there was such a thing as an “Erdős-Bacon number” — the sum of one’s Erdős number and one’s Bacon number. Sure enough, there is a Wikipedia page about it.

I would have assumed that I don’t have an Erdős–Bacon number, since I’ve never appeared in a Hollywood film, and therefore don’t have a Bacon number. But apparently the rules are relaxed for Erdős–Bacon numbers, to include any shared role in a film. For example, Ken Goldberg is said to qualify in the “Bacon” part of an Erdős–Bacon number because he was a co-writer of a documentary in which an actor appeared who also worked with Kevin Bacon on another film.

So by that definition I have an Erdős–Bacon number of five: I’ve co-authored with Jack Schwartz, who has co-authored with Donald Newman, who co-authored with Paul Erdős. And I share a film credit with Jeff Bridges, who also appeared on a different film with Kevin Bacon.

According to the Wikipedia, the only person in history with a lower Erdős–Bacon number than mine is Carl Sagan, and I’m ok with that.

Although I am probably not going to turn down any offers to work on a film with Kevin Bacon. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Erdős-Bacon number”

  1. Interesting. The lowest EBS number on that list is eight.

    I’ve got that beat, since I am connected to Journey through TRON, and therefore to Black Sabbath in only two steps:

    Ken Perlin → Aynsley Dunbar → Bob Daisley

    That gives me a total EBS number of seven, which means I seem to be the world record holder.

  2. Hey, linking yourself to Journey through Tron is totally cheating! You have to perform together in some way! Though if Stephen Hawking gets to be linked through a vocal sample I guess we can make some leeway.

    Hmm, let’s see. I’ve commented on Ken Perlin’s Blog, that totally gives me an Erdos Number of 4, as long as we’re relaxing the standards, right? =D I’ve worked as a technician on a good amount of live television with, well, there’s got to be some way to link me to Bacon through that, I’d estimate a Bacon number of around 6 or so… And I’ve worked on a show with someone who was a lighting designer for Nine Inch Nails, and I’d be surprised if Trent Reznor doesn’t have a Sabbath number of one or two, making my Sabbath number approximately 4…

    So my EBS number is probably something like 14 or so… Not bad for a dude who’s not famous in any way.

  3. I’m just going from the definition on Wikipedia, which listed shared professional credits on a production or publication, such as a writing credit.

    By the way, what has provoked such a snarky comment? Have I offended you in some way?

  4. Oh, I meant no disrespect, being snarky is just how I interact with people. It’s friendly, I assure you.

  5. Hey Ken! I was also an actor in the film, so I wasn’t cheating…;)
    Erdos-Bacon Number = 6. Erdos-Bacon Numbers.

    Erdos Number = 3. (Source: MathSciNet)

    Boris Aronov, Paul Erdos, et al. Crossing families. Combinatorica v14. no. 2, pp. 127-134. 1994.
    Boris Aronov, Mark de Berg, Frank van der Stappen, et al. Motion planning for multiple robots. Discrete Computational Geometry. v22. no. 4, pp. 505-525. 1999.
    R-P. Berretty, Ken Goldberg, Mark Overmars, and Frank van der Stappen. Trap Design for Vibratory Part Feeders. Int’l Jour. of Robotics Research. v20. no. 11. 2001.
    Bacon Number = 3. (Source:

    Kevin Bacon with Alec Baldwin in “She’s Having a Baby”. 1988.
    Alec Baldwin with Peter Coyote in “Earth and the American Dream”. 1992.
    Peter Coyote with Ken Goldberg in “Connected: An Autoblogography About Love, Death & Technology”. 2011.

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