Talk:Erdős–Bacon number

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Delete this![edit]

Isn't this WP:BJAODN material? Who are the nimrods who voted keep in the AfD? My gawd, it must be the end of the world! linas 05:47, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

It's all good - just one more reason why Wikipedia's pretensions of being an encyclopedia are pure farce. No wonder even junior high school teachers won't let their students use Wikipedia as a source on research papers.Mmyers1976 (talk) 15:16, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Oh come on, what's the harm? Implying that wikipedia's academic value for serious articles is somehow reduced simply because non serious topics are covered, is like saying the internet is amoral because you once found a pornsite. I don't know how things are in your part of the world, but here in Norway, wikipedia is steadily gaining acceptance as a reference source - as well as a great place to find detailed articles on anime characters. If teachers are indeed boycotting it's use like you claim, I'd say that begs far more questions of their methodology than wikipedias merits. Besides, any student dumb enough to cite an article like this in one of their papers wouldn't be helped by Britannica either. ;) -Weyoun —Preceding unsigned comment added by Weyoun1 (talkcontribs) 03:35, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

I disagree. I think this has mathematical value and if you followed Dr. Erdos' career at all, it makes total sense. mercator079 0133GMT 20 June 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:33, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that this is notable enough to warrant its own article, despite its length--seems more like it should be strictly restrained to a section of Erdős number [as it seems redundant to have both this article and that sub-section], no?--because, y'know, I hadn't even known that people had combined Erdős numbers and degrees of Bacon until I read a recent XKCD comic. Paperxcrip (talk) 04:33, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

The Bacon, Erdos, and Bacon-Erdos number have become the staple examples of the small world phenomena. Not only is the concept fascinating on a higher academic level, but it is a incredibly fun idea. When people discuss degrees of separation in social networks, these are among the first things discussed. I do not think this article should be removed. Hovden 23 June 2011 —Preceding undated comment added 22:19, 23 June 2011 (UTC).

This is not the only interpretation of the Erdos-Bacon number. The term is now being used to refer to a person's distance from either of eponymous sources on the network connected by both movie coincidences and coauthors. This means everyone with an Erdos or a Bacon number has an Erdos-Bacon number. Further the number is not necessarily their lower of the two values because the two worlds could cross. This interpretation is vastly more interesting as it leads to new, challenging problems. Incidences where the the difference between the Erdos side of the E-B number and the Bacon side differ by less than the distance between the two personalities provide an interesting thought experiment. That distance seems to be in dispute. There are no interesting thought experiments generated by the current interpretation. I have no sources. I cannot cite a university lecture. to contact me to discuss. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:44, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Erdős and Bacon's joint paper and Erdős' EBN[edit]

The (admittedly very amusing) statement concerning the "heretofore-unpublished Bacon-Erdős collaboration" is not correct, is it? It wouldn't lower Erdős' Bacon-Number, so only Bacon's Erdős-Bacon-number would be 1. Or? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:15, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

It is partly correct; perhaps fully correct if "collaboration" could mean appearance together in a film. If there were an Erdős-Bacon publication collaboration, then Bacon would have a Bacon number of zero and an Erdos number of 1, yielding an Erdős-Bacon of 1. If Erdős appeared in a film with Bacon, then he would have an Erdős number of zero and a Bacon number of 1, yielding an Erdős-Bacon number of 1. Ward3001 (talk) 15:13, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
It is still not correct, even if "collaboration" could mean appearance together in a film. If that were the case, Erdős would indeed have an Erdős-Bacon number of 1, but Bacon would still not have any publications with Erdős, and thus could not have an Erdős-Bacon number of 1. The only way for both Erdős and Bacon to have Erdős-Bacon numbers of 1 would be for some film collaboration to be revealed (either a secret film from the past, or using stock Erdős footage in a Bacon movie) and a joint publication to be revealed (Erdős needs the film to reduce his Bacon number to 1, and Bacon needs the publication to reduce his Erdős number to 1). I'm going to edit the article to reflect this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:33, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Uh ... that's what I said. If "collaboration" means they publish together and are in a film together, they each have an Erdős-Bacon number of 1, making the version before your edit fully correct. Ward3001 (talk) 22:46, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I think that version was at best misleading. "a [one] heretofore-unpublished Bacon-Erdős collaboration" could not lower Erdős' Bacon number and Bacon's Erdős number at the same time. Anyway, the "new film scenario" is taken care of by the line just above the line in question, and I think by the words "unpublished" and "collaboration" was originally ment an academic paper. But this is one of the goofiest sentences in one of the goofiest articles on wikipedia, so I don't think it's worth the discussion. I rewrote it to something I think everyone can agree on. (talk) 10:32, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

In the spirit of humoring the lunacy of this article, it doesn't seem possible to me that Erdős could have an Erdős Number or Bacon could have a Bacon Number. This article specifically defines the numbers as measuring "collaborative distance". Erdos and Bacon are the set reference or starting point for the collaborative distance in their respective numbers. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "collaborate" as "to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor." It seems in order to be collaborating, you must be working with others, therefore, it is impossible to collaborate with yourself, therefore impossible to have a number that measures your collaborative distance with yourself. Since that means Erdős can't have an Erdős Number and Bacon can't have a Bacon Number, neither can have an Erdős-Bacon Number.Mmyers1976 (talk) 21:27, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Hmm ... seems you have a bit of curiosity about EBN. Could that mean ... (God forbid) it has a tiny bit of value for you? That it may not be such a worthless, idiotic endeavor? ... No, that's impossible ... You're just humoring us lunatics.
It has been generally understood that Erdos has an Erdos number of zero and Bacon has a Bacon number of zero if we define distance as how many coactors (i.e., in the same film) or cowriters (i.e., wrote the same article) apart a person is from Bacon or Erdos. And since Erdos is zero units away from Erdos, he has an Erdos number of zero; likewise, Bacon is zero units away from Bacon. Now, in mathematical terms, I believe we are using a ratio scale (with an absolute zero), which give us different results than an interval scale because with an interval scale there would be no absolute zero and thereby Bacon would have a Bacon number of one because he is always in the same movie with Bacon. But I can't claim to have worked out the final mathematical proof of this view, so it may require a leap of faith. On the other hand, we could simply say that the creators of the Bacon and Erdos games arbitrarily assigned Bacon a Bacon number of zero and Erdos an Erdos number of zero, which would simplify things. But ... taking the simple explanation would mean acknowledging that it is a game rather than a scholarly endeavor, and that undboutedly would again place it in the lunacy, unencyclopedic category for you. So I'll leave it to you to resolve that dilemma in your own mind, because I don't want to go there; it's too scary. Ward3001 (talk) 22:53, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, you got me with that comment - or would have, if appealing to morbid curiosity made something worthy of being put in an encyclopedia. I am also sometimes curious when I hear rumors of Lindsey Lohan having a sapphic tryst with this or that girl, but that doesn't mean Britannica should write an article on the subject.Mmyers1976 (talk) 16:01, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Articles like this are why Wikipedia is such a joke[edit]

What significance or notability does a single person's connection to both a mathematician and an actor have? None, whatsoever. This should be a drinking game for nerdy grad students, not an encyclopedia article. That is was written, then nominated for deletion bet KEPT shows how flawed Wikipedia is.Mmyers1976 (talk) 16:51, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

A few possible answers:
Answer #1: The study of human networks and connection rankings is very valuable, commercially and academically. For the people who write algorithms for sites like Google and social network sites, it's critical. Scientific sources also publish similar rankings based on "impact factors", which can affect whether researchers get promotions and/or funding. If its true that connection rankings are pseudoscientific, then we need to know.
Answer #2: A number of people have written rather a lot over the years on whether arts and sciences are two different socially isolated "worlds". It's useful to get hold of some sort of statistical data to play with.
Answer #3: Mathematicians often do serious statistical analyses of important matters of which they have no personal knowledge whatosoever (think about the ongoing global warming debates). In order to get some sort of gut feeling for how the statistics correspond to significant real-world correlations, it's useful to have a "dummy problem" to practice on, that deals with a dataset that's available to everybody, and well known. So not only do Bacon Numbers and the like give us a sense of whether a formula's rankings are sensible, they let us test the robustness of our approach to data. The debates about how we categorise individuals' Bacon Numbers are useful real-world examples that let us familiarise ourselves with general data-gathering issues. If someone's Bacon Number can be dramatically altered by a judgement call on whether a link is considered to fall inside or outside the rules, then, since nobody really cares all that much what an individual's Bacon Number //really// is, it gives us a valuable opportunity to explore statistical methods in a neutral way, without personal bias intruding. Subjects like the Bacon Number (and Erdos-Bacon number) are valuable as "sample" studies, because the same underlying data can be checked over and over again by different people, and we can then measure how far different researchers reach different conclusions, and watch how the network weightings change when a new piece of data appears.
Think of them as the math community's counterpart of a TV engineer's testcard image. The contents of the testcard have no real intrinsic interest, but as a reference image, testcards are invaluable. These numbers are well-known, they're the subject of actual scientific research (into statistics), they're discussed, they're cited, they're notable, and they're encyclopaedic ErkDemon (talk) 23:41, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Why? What harm does this article to do to, say, Paul Erdos or any other article? It's not like readers have to read through this article to get to a serious article. Do you think people say "Good grief, I just learned that a Wikipedia article exists about (random trivial topic) - therefore everything in wikipedia is junk!" I don't think so. (By the way, I used to think like this myself, several years ago, but have become more "inclusionist") - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:05, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
No harm to Erdos or anything else, just proves that Wikipedia's pretentions of being an encyclopedia are a joke. Not that Britannica has no entry for this subject, nor does it have one for "beer pong".Mmyers1976 (talk) 20:31, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Actually, there was a reference to beer pong on a US TV programme broadcast in the UK a few days ago, and I was annoyed that (as a Brit) I had no idea what beer pong was. I didn't understand the cultural reference (other than that it seemed to be some sort of drinking game). Reading your post reminded me, and after a few seconds on the wikipedia beer pong page, now I know. The ability to get information on almost any subject, quickly, is one of the things that makes wikipedia so great. I'd suggest that wikipedia's //real// problem is the number of editors here who seem to have made it their personal mission to go around trying to delete pages that other people want to read, because //they// feel that those other people shouldn't be reading them. To me, that's cultural, social and scientific vandalism. ErkDemon (talk) 23:56, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Read Mmyers1976's user page and his attitude toward Wikipedia. That explains a lot. Fortunately, that point of view is in the minority here. I don't mind someone having a dislike of Wikipeda and expressing it on his/her talk page, but don't generalize that to a pattern of making unilateral decisions to delete without consensus. The Erdos-Bacon issue was discussed previously on Natalie Portman's talk page with no consensus to remove it. It stays unless a different consensus emerges. Ward3001 (talk) 20:07, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
What unilateral decision to delete without consensus? I did no such thing. My attitude toward Wikipedia is not so different as the one you express on your own talk pageMmyers1976 (talk) 20:31, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
No, you just don't understand the difference. Ward3001 (talk) 02:51, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Then I'd love to read your explanation of the difference :DMmyers1976 (talk) 19:33, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Extraneous/plain silly[edit]

The only way a lower number could be achieved would be: for an individual who had co-authored an academic paper with Paul Erdős to appear in a movie with Kevin Bacon; for Bacon to co-author an academic paper with someone with an Erdős number of 1, which would give Bacon an Erdős–Bacon number of 2; for anyone who appeared in the documentary N is a Number along with Erdős to appear in a film with Bacon, which would posthumously give Erdős an Erdős–Bacon number of 2; for Kevin Bacon to appear in a film that also uses stock footage of Erdős, giving Erdős an Erdős-Bacon number of 1; for a heretofore unknown joint academic paper by Bacon and Erdős to be published, giving Bacon an Erdős-Bacon number of 1.

This information can be worked out by the clear definitions in the rest of the article, so this is just explicitly stating all the combinations, which seems over the top, and the last line seems even too silly for this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by The Mysterious Gamer (talkcontribs) 00:45, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Bacon's Erdős number[edit]

How does Bacon have a finite Erdős number? He has not co-authored any papers with anyone. Ityllux (talk) 02:12, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

He doesn't. That addition was vandalism (or extreme confusion). I removed it. Thanks for pointing it out. Ward3001 (talk) 02:38, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

It's not funny making mugs out of the unwary[edit]

The article is an in-joke - ha ha, very funny. Many people visiting the article page will be unaware of that because nothing in the article suggests it. Why not share the joke by including a few strong hints in the body of the article? Or is it only funny while the insiders get their laughs at the expense of the ignorant mugs who know no better? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:58, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Relax, no one's laughing at you. Kaleja (talk) 19:03, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Anon, are you referring to the Erdős–Bacon number article in Wikipedia on planet Earth? Although some may find the concept of ENB humorous, it is not even remotely an "in-joke". The information in the article is not a secret that's only shared by a select few. Any reasonably intelligent person who reads the article can understand as much as anyone else. There's nothing to "share" besides what is very obviously in the article. Ward3001 (talk) 21:30, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Stephen Hawking[edit]

Incidentally, Stephen Hawking's Bacon number of 3 does not require his television appearances. He appeared as himself in the documentary The 11th Hour, which was narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, who has a Bacon number of 2.Tomaths (talk) 16:49, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

That may be true, but more people are familiar with his Star Trek appearance, which makes his low Bacon number easier to understand. Additionally, some sources (e.g. The Oracle of Bacon) don't include documentaries as legitimate links by default. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:05, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

Would this count? If so, it would give Hawking a Bacon number of 2 as it contains Sean Austin who was in White Water Summer with Bacon. (talk) 21:27, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

No. Read the very first sentence in the article. "Bacon number—which represents the number of links, through roles in films, by which the individual is separated from American actor Kevin Bacon." A TV series is not a film. Sundayclose (talk) 21:53, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Original research tag[edit]

I added this tag, as much of the article appears to be speculation or original research. --01:01, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Marvin Minsky[edit]

Computer scientist Marvin Minsky has a number of 6. His Erdös number is 4, via Seymour Papert (3) via Robert McNaughton (2) via Yechezkel Zalcstein (1). His Bacon number is 2, via Yoko Ono in The Revenge of the Dead Indians; Yoko appeared in Imagine New York with Bacon. ows (talk) 01:26, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Eschatological outcome[edit]

Its a relatively trivial calculation for either the bacon number, the erdoes number, or the bacon erdoes number, though the categories of people who have collaborated with either person is always going to be incomplete, due to the possibility of previously unknown collaborations. however, the real test is to calculate the NN number for each person N, based on that person N's documented collaborations with other people. then, take the set of all such NN's, and calculate the NNN number for each member of that set in relation to each other member of that set. thus, for approximately 100 billion humans that have lived, each has a NN number of 0 for themselves, with NN numbers for all other people ranging from 1 to (potentially) 100 billion, just as that person N will have an NN number of from 0 (themselves), to (potentially) 100 billion as they relate to each other member of our species. then, you will have NNN numbers for each person based on the combined NN numbers for each possible pairing of people N. then, we have to consider the levels of collaboration. producing offspring, creative collaboration not producing offspring (including raising children not ones own by genetics), and simply having met or touched in person (either documented by another person, or surmised if you like). furthermore, we still have to explore each persons NNNN number, by combining the NN numbers for each unique grouping of 3 people. and the NNN/NNN numbers, combining each set of paired NNN numbers. and the NNNNN numbers, etc. i suppose we need an Ñ number for all possible levels of NNN numbers up to 100 billion NN's (i think i may have lost track of my Ns about now). unfortunately, the calculation of this set of numbers is some years away. however, i believe that this is probably a better measure for the end of the universe than printing out all the possible combinations for the name of god (see Nine Billion Names of God). in all seriousness, i wish someone would author a paper on this. it seems to be an interesting problem. oh, and who would be the person with the overall lowest Ñ score? any guesses?Mercurywoodrose (talk) 03:52, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Just out of curiosity, why did you go to the effort of capitalizing the letter used as a mathematical variable, but then deliberately not capitalize the letter used as a personal pronoun or the letters that start sentences? These habits of capitalization has been adopted to reduce the chance of reader misunderstanding; it seems inconsistent to do one and not the others. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 12:03, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
good question. i have difficulty when typing to remember to capitalize, and often when i try my fingers move too fast and the cap doesnt stick. but sometimes i get obsessive about certain capitalizations. i do the same at my job, which probably annoys my supervisor, but my writing there is still much better than most other peoples (its obviously not a copyediting type job), so i get a pass. i also cannot compose by hand anymore, my hands get uncomfortable. its all very annoying, bad habits. (oh, and i should have called the math variables somehing like N sub x, N sub y etc. ) I believe I am more diligent (whoops, now i remembered to capitalize, oops now im not, and this is NOT deliberate. seriously.) in my article writing. it means i often retype a capital letter 2 or 3 or even 4 times in some instances. yuck. thanks for asking. if you think that my talk comments would be more legible with proper caps, i will make a better effort to do so (not all my talk comments are as off topic as this one, though i do think im bringing up a point that needs to go in the article IF EVER written about in a math journal: that this number ranking can be generalized into a set of mathematical formulae, etc. for all i know, its already used in some branches of math for things like fuzzy logic or disease vectors) Mercurywoodrose (talk) 16:55, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Could we please discontinue any discussion that is not directly related to improvement of the article, per Wikipedia policy? Ward3001 (talk) 17:37, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

yes.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 18:42, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

I've removed most of the article as it was largely based on original research and not reliable sources. Basically all the examples of people's Erdos-Bacon numbers have been removed, as I couldn't see that any of them had been published in reliable sources. If there are good quality sources out there which publish individuals' Erdos-Bacon numbers, I'll have no problem adding them to the article again, but I couldn't find any such sources. --hippo43 (talk) 14:27, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

WTF? There are good sources for both Erdos and Bacon numbers. Adding them together is arithmetic, not research.
—WWoods (talk) 23:33, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, WWoods, adding the sources together with "arithmetic", as you call it, is called Synthesis, which is covered in the No Original Research policy as a form of original research. Therefore, I added the template for Synthesis. (talk) 14:15, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I disagree. A lot of the references were not reliable sources. Many examples did not have sources saying 'X has a Bacon number of 2' but were calculated by editors based on sources such as IMDb. Adding them together is also original research, as the resulting Erdos-Bacon numbers are not reported in any reliable sources. The article was a great list of examples of OR. It in no way reflected the coverage of Erdos-Bacon numbers in reliable sources, so also breached WP:NPOV. --hippo43 (talk) 23:41, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Hippo, your extemist approach to the article is inappropriate, disruptive, and contrary to much of Wikipedia policy of consensus. A huge portion of what you removed WAS reliably sourced. If you find individual sentences, paragraphs, or sections that are not properly source, please tag or remove them. But do not make a wholesale destruction of 95% of the article simply because some parts of it are not reliably sourced. Such sweeping changes need consensus on the talk page, not unilateral decision-making by a single editor. Thank you. Ward3001 (talk) 00:02, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

IMDb is not an unacceptable source for lists of cast members in films. See Wikipedia:Citing IMDb. Ward3001 (talk) 00:06, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

I did remove them one or two at a time, checking each one. They were reinserted all at once, clearly without being checked for proper references. Many of the references are of the sort "According to IMDb, X was in film Y with Z." Calculating Bacon numbers in this way is OR. Calculating Erdos numbers by listing papers authored is also OR.
Again, the calculated Erdos-Bacon numbers are not reported in any reliable sources. Calculating these hypothetical numbers is obviously original research. As above, per WP:NPOV, they have no place in an encyclopedia.
Can you address these issues? --hippo43 (talk) 00:15, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't have to address your removal of acceptably sourced information. The IMDb page that I cited is a guideline that is divided into acceptable, unacceptable, and disputed uses of IMDb. In the absence of a policy against use of IMDb for cast lists, IMDb can be used for this purpose.
And beyond the issue of whether some of the material belongs in the article, I and most Wikipedia editors have little or no tolerance for your bullying and bulldozing approach to editing that assumes you make the decisions without consensus. You're skating on thin ice here. Keep it up and you'll get a fourth block. If you want a consensus to remove information from the article, you wait for it to emerge here just like everyone else. There is no such thing as a consensus of one person. Ward3001 (talk) 00:25, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Again, can you explain why you clearly reinserted material without checking the referencing? This obviously breaches WP:V.
Can you explain why you don't think the methods used to calculate numbers are original research? There's not been much discussion from your end. --hippo43 (talk) 00:39, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

And I'll repeat for the last time: In the absence of a Wikipedia policy against use of IMDb for cast lists, it is acceptable to use it. If you see unsourced material (and that does NOT include any calculations based on IMDb), do what you wish. Now, unless you can come up with some better arguments for wholesale removal of most the article, I'm not arguing endlessly with you here. We'll see if a consensus emerges that supports your edits. Ward3001 (talk) 00:45, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Per WP:V and WP:RS, a specific policy does not need to exist to allow specific sources to be used. I already did remove numerous examples for varying reasons. You restored them without checking the referencing. Which policy supports calculating material from data? That is original research. --hippo43 (talk) 00:58, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Opened discussion here. --hippo43 (talk) 01:06, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree with Hippo here. It's OK to explain how this number is defined. It's OK to cite references that have calculated the number. But when editors go around IMDB and calculate the number themselves, that is OR. The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 01:24, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Go around IMDb??? That's tantamount to saying that IMDb can't be used as a source. You're playing a game of semantics. If IMDb is a legimate source, and the calcuations are based on IMDb, that is not "going around IMDB". If I look at IMDb pages and see that Actor X is in a film with Actor Y, that is using IMDb as a source. How else can someone use IMDb as a source except by doing the calculations from IMDb data? Please answer that specific question. Ward3001 (talk) 01:28, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

To be clear, my issue is largely with the calculating part, not specifically with the data set. Calculating is 'research'. This stuff is not published anywhere else, so inserting it here is 'original'. --hippo43 (talk) 01:32, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
To answer your specific question, you can use IMDb as a source by quoting from it - e.g. "actor X appeared in film Y in 2008". You can't calculate stuff using the data if the results are not previously published anywhere. --hippo43 (talk) 01:34, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Let me see if I understand this contorted logic. It's OK for me to use IMDb if I write in the article, "Actor A was in a Film 1 with Actor B, who was in Film 2 with Actor C, who was in Film 3 with Actor D, who was in Film 4 with Actor E. Therefore, Actor A is four films away from Actor E. And I certify that I did all these calculations by looking at the IMDb pages rather than using a computer program that will do it for me." That is laughably absurd, not to mention the fact that it would increase the length of the article many times over. Have you ever heard the expression that someone can't see the forest for the trees. It applies here. Ward3001 (talk) 01:42, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Clear WP:OR here. From WP:OR

This includes unpublished facts, arguments, speculation, and ideas; and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position.

While the numbers been calculated are supposedly facts, they clearly are unpublished facts--LexCorp (talk) 01:39, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Furthermore how can they merit inclusion in the article if they are unpublished?--LexCorp (talk) 01:41, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
No "speculation" if IMDb is considered an acceptable source. Ward3001 (talk) 01:42, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm guessing unpublished facts and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material were bolded for a reason. The issue isn't speculation. The Bacon numbers are generally not published facts, the Erdos numbers are generally not published facts, and the Erdos-Bacon numbers are not published facts, and represent an unpublished synthesis of (un)published material. --hippo43 (talk) 01:59, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't call a simple calculation original research. Consider Integral. Calculating that integral to give an example isn't original research, even though it's not likely that many people bother to publish such a simple calculation. However, perhaps the number of examples could be reduced to a few well known academics/actors? Irbisgreif (talk) 02:36, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
If there is a consensus to limit the number of examples, I have no problem with it. What I have a serious problem with is Hippo's decision that his opinions are more important than consensus and thus his unilateral action to remove sourced information, not only without consensus, but with almost no discussion until he was repeatedly challenged and warned about 3RR. I'm very much open to discussion and the consensus process, but I do not tolerate that kind of arrogance and running roughshod over everyone else's opinions. Ward3001 (talk) 03:07, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Do you have anything to say on the issue of whether this stuff is reliably sourced or not? --hippo43 (talk) 03:28, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure Ward3001 already said a fair bit above on the RS issue and IMDb. Is IMDb your main line of attack? Or do you find any calculation original research? If an article said, "Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have co-stared in three major motion pictures in their career," would that be "original research" to you? What's your dividing line? Settling on your point would help prevent the discussion from meandering.
In any event, this has been discussed before, not only at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Erdős–Bacon number but also at Talk:Erdős–Bacon number/Archive 1. Wholesale deletion followed by berating of those trying to restore the information due to lack of a new consensus is contrary to the spirit of consensus building. Calbaer (talk) 05:54, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

As for limiting, I'm thinking that the examples should be kept to the lowest known, the highest known, and 2-4 names that will be recognized right away. Irbisgreif (talk) 09:26, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

The number definitely needs to be cut down, drastically. The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 12:07, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
When this article was first put up for deletion, at least one person complained that it wasn't important because the list was too short! That said, we should be more strict about reliable sources and accurate definitions, but I disagree with the criteria you mention. "Highest known" is about meaningless, since it could always change. And choosing those that happen to be famous actors is a bit arbitrary. Cutting down the list to those items that are referenced should be enough, since those that have been there with months without any RS added should be removed. Calbaer (talk) 17:26, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Erdos numbers can be calculated directly using Mathscinet's collaboration distance tool. does the same for Bacon numbers. Adding the two is arithmetic. The need then is simply to reference these explicitly. This is making a mountain out of a molehill. JoshuaZ (talk) 20:04, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Do we really need a table of forty people? I'd recommend to anyone whose hobby it is to calculate these numbers to do it outside of Wikipedia. The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 20:23, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
That's a distinct issue. The point was that there's no real OR issue. I for one don't see any problem listing every individual who has finite EB. It is a serious and very rare accomplishment. All the people listed are notable. It might make sense to split it off as a separate list but that's also a distinct issue. JoshuaZ (talk) 22:07, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
It is still OR. How do we know that the calculations are correct? The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 22:17, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Shrug. So just state that the numbers are upper bounds. Why is there any OR in that? JoshuaZ (talk) 22:37, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Who says they are upper bounds? The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 22:42, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
At the risk of appearing snarky, you should add your argument to your list of "Misguided Arguments I've Come Across At Wikipedia". Adding two numbers together and noting that is an upper bound is a routine calculation of the type explicitly allowed on WP:OR (see "routine calculations" section). This has been debated by experienced editors against newbies many times in many forums on Wikipedia. --C S (talk) 19:40, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Could you link to where these debates have reached consensus on this specific issue? WP:NOR says routine calculations are allowed in certain circumstamces, where editors agree. However, it does not say that they are allowed to be used to promote a previously unpublished position, as is being done here. There has also been no agreement that the sources being used for the original data are reliable - see discussion at WP:NORN. Moreover, there is no way of referencing that the Erdos and Bacon numbers are for the same people - picking two names which match provides a result which is not verifiable in reliable sources. --hippo43 (talk) 20:36, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
These discussions happen all the time and are what led to the present wording in WP:NOR. If you don't believe me, you can go ask the regulars there. There is no "position" here. It's a basic arithmetical fact. Erdos-Bacon number is the sum of the Erdos and Bacon numbers. If the Erdos and Bacon numbers are X and Y respectively, then the sum is X+Y and the Erdos-Bacon number is X+Y. Please query the OR people if the conclusion of the italicized statements is OR. All this talking about "previously unpublished position" reminds me of fitting a square peg into a round hole. It's as if you are parsing the words of the policy to force the conclusion you want, rather than if you started out trying to understand it and then seeing if it applies to this situation.
There is a separate issue here (with which you've managed to stir up some legitimate debate): whether or not searching the IMDB (or whatever) is sufficient to conclude that the Bacon number is exactly a particular number. However, the facts uncovered by looking through the IMDB certainly suffice to give an upper bound on the Bacon number, and it is also not OR to do the basic logic of connecting the actors in a chain. You've raised a verifiability problem, but it is a separate issue. That can be resolved by asking for an explicit chain linking the two actors. It is not difficult to check through normal verification processes that the people in the chain are who they are supposed to be. --C S (talk) 00:52, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
As far as I can see, WP:SYNTH doesn't define a 'position' as narrowly as you want to. There is a discussion already open at WP:NORN. Those regulars who have contributed so far generally consider this stuff unacceptable. --hippo43 (talk) 01:49, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
You seem to be parsing the guideline sentence by sentence, section by section, rather than having a picture of the whole. If you read one section out of context, it may contradict other sections (like the routine calculations section, which as JoshuaZ rightfully pointed out is meant to address unsourced calculations). I notice that you have subtly evaded my challenge. Rather than stating that "those regulars who have contributed so far" would agree with you about my example of X+Y, you state they agree "this stuff" not acceptable. I don't believe from reading that discussion (and indeed, I read it beforehand) that any of them support your claim that concluding that X+Y is the Erdos-Bacon number is OR. Indeed, when you made this claim explicitly, it was rebuffed by Calbaer and Blueboar and the others do not address this claim. Again, since you insist on conflating a number of issues all under the same umbrella, it's not surprising that you will engender some agreement on some points. In any case, a straw poll has been started. PS you can look in the archives of the NOR policy talk page for preceding discussions which this one is basically mimicking. --C S (talk) 21:04, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
I spent a couple minutes hitting some random archives of NOR, since there are quite a few now. Here's [[1]], which explains why the routine calculcations bit was removed from the SYNTH section (basically the editors doing so didn't realize someone would interpret arithmetic as synth). A bit further down there is [[2]]. You can see the kind of thinking that goes into formulating the NOR policy with respect to deductions and calculations in [[3]] (you'll notice that implicit among the commentators in the discussion is that the type of calculation you are arguing over is not OR). --C S (talk) 21:38, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Um, I'm not following that line of logic. By the definition those are calculations being used for a previoulsy unpublished position. If they were already published there wouldn't need to be an exception for it in OR. Furthermore, for many of these people it is easy to verify that they are the same people as much as we normally do. To use the obvious example if there are two articles about someone named Paul Erdos I don't need to worry that they might be speaking about different people when they both give the same basic biographical information (although note that the Mathscinet database lists at least one other mathematician by that name). JoshuaZ (talk) 21:43, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Except the sources used - Oracleofbacon and Mathscinet - do not give any biographical info, so it is not verified that we are talking about the same person. Your own example of 2 people called Paul Erdos clearly shows this problem. --hippo43 (talk) 21:53, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
It takes minimal effort to verify they are the same people given that the math papers generally list affiliated universities. This is all covered in the sort of trivial matters that don't count as OR. JoshuaZ (talk) 22:07, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Per WP:V, "the source cited must unambiguously support the information as it is presented in the article.[nb 2] The source should be cited clearly and precisely to enable readers to find the text that supports the article content in question." Expecting a reader to trawl through maths papers to check affiliated universities, then compare that with other biographical info is not providing sources. Moreover, does this prove that they are the same person? Do universities only admit students with unique names? --hippo43 (talk) 22:15, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
And is there exactly one actor or mathematician with any given name? Do we expect readers to trawl through the biographic descriptions to confirm they are talking about the same person? The bottom line is that you are disallowing a conclusion that we routinely make in all sorts of subjects. JoshuaZ (talk) 23:04, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Arithmetic together with reliable sources. What's the issue? Arithmetic is not OR. JoshuaZ (talk) 22:52, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
You are combining material from reliable sources to make a claim that no reliable source itself makes. That is synthesis, a form of OR. The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 00:08, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Consider integral again. This fact: . It isn't published anywhere. Reliable mathematics textbooks, plus following mathematical procedure, produces a result. According to you, this is synthesis and OR. According to Wikipedia policy, calculations are not OR. Irbisgreif (talk) 05:42, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

If some Wikipedia editor had come up with the concept E–B numbers and written an article about it, *that* would be Original Research. But that's not what happened; the concept pre-dates Wikipedia. The examples are based on concatenations of verifiable facts, that 'E co-wrote [something] with F, who co-wrote ... with X' & 'B appeared in a film with C, who appeared ... with X". A specific chain doesn't necessarily prove what the individual's E–B number is, but it proves that (1) he has one (2) which is less than or equal to the length of the specified path.

Apparently I hit Return before my last edit summary was added; it would have been that 'these hypotheticals follow from the definition.'
—WWoods (talk) 06:10, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

OR Straw Poll[edit]

Let's just see how consensus looks on whether these facts are OR or not. Irbisgreif (talk) 08:21, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Not OR. They're just calculations. Irbisgreif (talk) 08:21, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Not OR. - Agree, they're just calculations. Whether done by a computer or by hand, they're calculations. And it is not unacceptable on Wikipedia to use IMDb for film cast lists; the calculations are based on IMDb and done by a reputable university; so to remove the information, there needs to be credible sources that IMDb is wrong and/or the University of Virginia is wrong. Ward3001 (talk) 17:42, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Not OR. I see how the policy could be interpreted as making this OR, but I think the opposite interpretation seems more credible. Calbaer (talk) 17:58, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Not OR. Those claiming OR would appear to think the simple addition of two numbers which are each established by reliable sources is OR, and that an arithmetical fact must be advancing a "new position". This is a blatant misunderstanding of the NOR policy. There is a legitimate RS/Verifiablity issue regarding the Bacon number and Erdos number calculations; indeed, the removed text from the article was weakly sourced. But this is distinct from OR in this situation. --C S (talk) 21:12, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Not OR From WP:OR: "This policy does not forbid routine calculations, such as adding numbers, converting units, or calculating a person's age, provided editors agree that the arithmetic and its application correctly reflect the information published by the sources from which it is derived." Nuff said. JoshuaZ (talk) 00:04, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Blatant OR: If a reliable third-party source has looked in various databases and discovered that a person called Peter Hernandez has an Erdos number of 4 and that a person called Peter Hernandez has a Bacon number of 3, then does some fact-checking and is satisfied that they are the same person, then publishes that "Peter Hernandez has an Erdos-Bacon number of 7", then they have done the research and it is verifiable. If a wikipedia editor does the same, it is classic original research. "Routine calculations" does not cover this kind of research, "fact-checking" and synthesis, particularly when the sources are so shaky and it involves biographical info on living people. --hippo43 (talk) 05:13, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Not OR While it is questionable whether this content is "encyclopedic", "worth keeping", etc., it is certainly not OR. The point about "it may not be the same person" is a red herring. Any time we say "Prof. X wrote a paper..." and cite the paper itself, or say "Actress Y acted in the movie..." and cite {IMDb/some cast listing in a news publication/whatever}, we are making the reasonable assumption that it's the same person, and in the absence of any justified doubt to the contrary, we assume good faith. (When there is doubt raised, and if it is worth mentioning in the article, we can add more references to verify that it is the same person.) It's not OR, just routine fact-checking. Shreevatsa (talk) 07:00, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Consensus seemed to be not OR, but probably not notable. I have changed the article tag to reflect this. Irbisgreif (talk) 12:38, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't see notability really addressed in this discussion aside from off-handed comments, which hardly indicate a consensus. On the other hand, notability has been discussed ad nauseum on this page and, more so, during the attempted deletion three years ago. Is there really anything new to say now that would succeed in challenging notability where previous attempts have failed? Calbaer (talk) 18:10, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
As with some other matters related to this article, the notability issue is largely a matter of opinion. Some consider this interesting and encyclopedic information that belongs here. Others see it as useless trivia. What is disgusting is when the deletion advocates try to hide their motivations by making false claims about another issue besides notability, such as this episode of challenging on the basis of OR. There has never been a consensus to remove the information on the grounds of notability, even though (as stated above) it has been tried a few times. Ward3001 (talk) 18:20, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't see anything to indicate that the OR claims were motivated by some kind of nefarious hidden agenda. Do you know something I don't? Casting aspersions the way you are is probably violating WP:NPA. --C S (talk) 21:50, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
When editors who have pushed the OR issue refer to the content of the article as "rubbish" (or similar terms), that clearly suggests that the issue is more than original research; OR is simply a vehicle used in an attempt by some editors to get rid of information that they think is not notable but have been unsuccessful in removal on those grounds. I have not violated NPA; I have not named any editor; I am speaking about the history of the article for several years, which includes many editors. Ward3001 (talk) 20:49, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
When you write "What is disgusting is when the deletion advocates try to hide their motivations by making false claims about another issue besides notability, such as this episode of challenging on the basis of OR" it's easy to misinterpret that as you saying that this particular instance is related to "deletiion advocates try[ing] to hide their motivations". I'm glad to hear it's just my misunderstanding of your comment and no attack was meant here. --C S (talk) 23:06, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I got the impression (perhaps wrongly) that that comment was aimed at me. For the record, I'm not in favour of deleting the article. IMO, it should be merged into the Erdos number article, as suggested at WP:NORN. Coverage of the concept in reliable sources is minimal, so I don't believe it merits its own article. However, my attempts to remove the 'rubbish' from this article were not an attempt to delete or merge it.
To me, it's as clear as day that this is OR. I could equally say that inclusionists are arguing that it is not OR to protect the article from deletion - if the OR is removed, there's very little left. Arguments about routine calculations may convince some, but the bottom line is that these people's supposed Erdos-Bacon numbers are being published here for the first time. That is not the purpose of an encyclopedia.
The lack of notability and coverage in reliable sources has led editors here to make stuff up. The Erdos-Bacon numbers listed give this article a weight that is not reflected in sources. The sources referenced are dubious, and the conclusions unpublished. There clearly isn't consensus here to remove this OR for now, but there are clearly serious problems with the article. --hippo43 (talk) 13:08, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Erdos-Bacon-Morphy numbers[edit]

I wonder if anyone who is related to Erdos, Bacon, and Morphy (which is also why this article shouldn't be on Wikipedia, because if it should, then 3 other articles should also be on wikipedia) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:35, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

If your comment was comprehensible, I might respond. Cresix (talk) 01:41, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the OP is asking of there is anyone with a finite Erdős–Bacon–Morphy number meaning a number summing the Erdős number, Bacon number and Morphy number. I don't know the answer to that but will note this isn't the right place for such a question anyway, the closest place on wikipedia is WP:RD. They also appear to be claiming that we should also have a Erdős–Bacon–Morphy number article, a Erdős–Morphy number article and a Bacon–Morphy number article if we keep this article. Even assuming there is someone with a finite number for these articles, the answer to that is that unless there are sufficient reliable sources discussing the concept we don't need an article. I make no comment on whether this article meets WP:GNG, but it's easily possible that this article does and the others don't for whatever reason. By the same token, it's possible some random actor who only appeared in a supporting role in some minor movie meets WP:GNG and so is WP:Notable and an article on them is justified. But another actor who appeared in a similar supporting role, in a minor movie, heck perhaps the very same movie, may not and so no article on them is justified. This is a WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS argument to some extent but that normally doesn't really consider that there may be a good reason why OTHERSTUFFEXISTS but THISSTUFF shouldn't. Nil Einne (talk) 06:32, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

Delete this bullshit[edit]

This is nonsensical garbage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Spinteractive (talkcontribs) 11:42, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Agree. --hippo43 (talk) 16:52, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Disagree. This page has been accepted in about two or three consensus discussions. Of course, anyone can start another consensus discussion, but I ask that editors review the previous ones first. Cresix (talk) 16:57, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Disagree. The article is relevant and informative to society. The only good debate to be had on this article is what constitutes original research and I'm impressed with the previous debate on the issue. Hovden 23 June 2011

Natalie Portman's Bacon Number[edit]

Was Kevin Bacon actually in "New York, I Love You"? He's not on the cast list on imdb and his name doesn't appear on the movie poster, but some websites say he was in the movie. From this website, it sounds like he was in a scene that was cut but appears on the DVD special features. Does that count? (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:54, 27 April 2011 (UTC).

Wikipedia's a Joke - Exhibit A[edit]

You people have GOT to be kidding me..

An Erdos-Bacon number? An Erdos-Bacon number??????

Who even came up with this bullshit? Some guy sits in a room bored one day and decides to start rating people with a number based on two separate correlations, and it becomes a Wikipedia entry?

Ok, guess what.. I just came up with a new measurement called the Starfruit-Finkel number. It's a combination of how many times you've seen the actor Fyvush Finkel in your life AND eaten a starfruit. How's that? Can I make a Wikipedia entry on this now? Or about the TomataPottomus Coefficient? It measures how many times a person has rubbed a tomato wearing wool mittens AND also read a book on hippopotami, in the same 17.5-month period.

You mindless fucks.. No wonder this site is such a joke. And it just proves that supposedly "intelligent" human beings really will congregate in a discussion over ANYTHING..

         Rebuttal - my, my, you have rage issues.  This seems to be tweaking at the core of your being.  Or you just need a hug.
         Get over it.

I agree with the OP on this. Great article for the Onion but it's just another reason not to include Wikipedia on a list of reliable reference sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:24, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree that this page ought to be deleted. Failing that, it should be thoroughly revised so that (a) some explanation is given in the introduction of why the subject exists: why does an Erdos Bacon number matter? I suggest that the page ought therefore to include a statement at the start that this is a humorous or whimsical concept that some people have nevertheless found amusing (then cite them, if there are any); and (b) all of the vast number of unsourced statements should removed, e.g. "it is sometimes thought that X has an Erdos Bacon number". By whom is it thought? — Preceding unsigned comment added by PTSN (talkcontribs) 16:44, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

You're not saying anything that hasn't been said before, PTSN. Read the rest of this page and check the archives. There have been several discussions, but there has never been a consensus to delete the article. And if you feel compelled to add that the article doesn't pertain to a profound concept on which the future of humanity hinges (as if you're the only person who has realized this), feel free to add a few neutral words to the lead. Just be sure that you source your comments (otherwise it's WP:OR and WP:NPOV, and I'm sure someone with your high standards for Wikipedia wouldn't want to violate those policies), and don't take it too far. A few words will do. For example, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (already linked in this article) describes "a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon". Something similar would be acceptable. But I wouldn't suggest making such an edit at Erdős number; academicians who devote their lives to scholarly pursuits don't take kindly to having their accomplishments referred to as "humorous or whimsical". Cresix (talk) 23:24, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

David Morgan-Mar?[edit]

David Morgan-Mar (the author of Irregular Webcomic) claims on his website to have an Erdos-Bacon number of seven. I'm not sure how correct this particular claim is, but if it really is true (and someone here can support that), could that be included in the article? I'd imagine he'll make a nice addition to the "Others" category (as he's, well, very distant from being either a scientist or an actor). -- (talk) 03:18, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Another Addition[edit]

I don't know how many people frequent this page, but I'm going to leave this here anyway. According to Tom Lehrer's page, he also has a defined Erdős–Bacon number. Can anyone validate this and/or add him to the list? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:50, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Daniel Kleitman[edit]

He used to be on this list with an Erdos number of 1 and a Bacon number of 2 (as he appeared as an uncredited extra in Good Will Hunting) but he is not here now. Did someone have a reason to remove him? (talk) 16:22, 18 June 2012 (UTC)DaveMB

His entry, and many others, were removed because of inadequate reliable sources to document either the Bacon number or the Erdos number. See WP:RS, WP:V, and WP:NOR. I don't recall specific details of his case, but please be aware that every website is not a reliable source. Read the links provided here for more details. This article has a long history of LOTS of people claiming to be an extra in a movie, but if it can't be reliably sourced, it doesn't go in the article. "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth". Many extras are not credited in the film credits, and someone simply claiming on a blog or a personal website that "I was in that movie" doesn't pass the test of reliable sourcing. And he must be credited as a cast member, not some other way. IMDb lists him among those "thanked" by the film-makers, but not in the cast (even if the thanks is for a momentary appearance, we have no way of knowing that unless it is reliably sourced). Also note that if you are in any way affiliated with Kleitman, you don't need to be the person adding it to the article. See WP:AUTOBIOGRAPHY and WP:COI. Instead, provide the reliable sources on this talk page and let others decide what goes in the article. Cresix (talk) 17:18, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

On Kleitman's Wikipedia page are a link to an article in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society where Kleitman explains how he appeared as an extra in GWH: "Daniel J. Kleitman, "My Career in the Movies,", Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 45, 502 (April 1998)". It also says there that he authored six papers with Erdos, including "Paul Erdos, Daniel J. Kleitman: Extremal problems among subsets of a set. Discrete Mathematics 306(10-11): 923-931 (2006)" which I found on google in less than a minute. That looks like plenty of documentation to me. (talk) 20:59, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

The source on his Wikipedia page is not reliable for verifying his Bacon number. He is not listed at IMDb as an official cast member (and a listing under "Thanks" does not place him in the cast list), which means he is not listed in the official film credits. Therefore, he has no verified Bacon number and his name does not belong in the article. Feel free to mention him at Erdős number, but not here. If I had a dollar for every person who has tried to add themselves, their brother, their uncle, or their cousin, falsely claiming that they were an "extra" in a film, I would be very wealthy and the article would be about 50 times longer than it is. Cresix (talk) 22:25, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

IMDB is cited above as an unreliable source for verification of film appearances. Kleitman discusses the role he had in the film in [1] Quote: "Afterward a few of us were retained to walk up and down outside the Tasty, a now defunct sandwich shop in Harvard Square, while the hero and heroine smooch a bit at the counter with the window as a backdrop. Strangely enough, in the take that appears in the movie I walk by the window and then do it again in the opposite direction. I guess I was lost. Two more strange things: the scene in the Tasty with me visible outside is in one of the cuts used to advertise the movie..." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:52, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

The book "Number Freak: From 1 to 200- The Hidden Language of Numbers Revealed" by Derrick Niederman also says that Daniel Kleitman appeared in Good Will Hunting. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thompn4 (talkcontribs) 19:58, 19 May 2016 (UTC)


Nicholas Metropolis[edit]

Nicholas Metropolis, a well-known physicist, is two steps away from Paul Erdos, as can be verified from the site used in support of other entries in Erdos-Bacon number. He was also used by Woody Allen to portray a scientist in Husbands and Wives as can be verified in IMDB at the link I provided as well as Metropolis's own Wikipedia entry. He is two steps from Kevin Bacon via several other actors in that cast. StN (talk) 21:07, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

The source you provide for the Erdos number has no mention of Metropolis whatsoever. Here's the link [4]. Click and give us the exact quote that contains Metropolis' name. Cresix (talk) 21:25, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your persistence through multiple attempts to source the item correctly. Perhaps you should develop a practice of actually checking your sources before using them. That makes a lot more sense than edit warring. Cresix (talk) 01:42, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
The first page I referenced for Metropolis's connection to Erdos contained within it a link to the collaboration distance utility from which Metropolis's Erdos number of 2 could easily be verified. The "dead link" was because I accidentally inserted a slash after the URL. Hardly perfect, but in neither case did it warrant a deletion if good faith was assumed. You could have inserted a "citation needed" tag as User:CHW100 has done for some long-standing questionable entries, including the Bacon number for Erdos himself, which is actually stated to be incorrect earlier in the article. Why hadn't those (and other remaining unsourced ones) engaged your propensity to slash and reproach (i.e, on my user page)? Did it look to you like I was trying to get away with something? StN (talk) 02:47, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The issue is not "accidentally inserted a slash". Let's review:

  • Here you added the item with no source. Not exactly a "good faith" edit by an editor who has been around several years.
  • Here you linked the Erdos number to a source that had no mention of Metropolis whatsoever, apparently expecting the rest of us to read your mind and finish the job because it "could easily be verified."
  • Then, instead of taking a couple of seconds to check the source you linked, you turned your attention to attacking the messenger who pointed out that your source does not verify your claim.
  • Then here you simply re-added the inadequate source that you provided earlier.
  • Then finally, here you made your "accidental slash" error which I did not revert.

"Why hadn't those (and other remaining unsourced ones) engaged your propensity to slash and reproach": Because no editor is required or even expected to fix an entire article in order to fix one problem in an article. And if you look at the edit history of the article, you can easily see that I am a major editor who has removed unsourced or poorly sourced material from the article.

"Did it look to you like I was trying to get away with something?": Only with your first unsourced edit, and that's because you're not a new editor and should know better than adding unsourced items to an article that has had numerous challenges for addition of unsourced material. Cresix (talk) 00:26, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

You seem have some more editing to do, Cresix. The physicist Nicholas Metropolis's movie credit for "Husbands and Wives" remains on his Wikipedia page (at least as of an hour ago). I "can't claim IMDb is wrong and then use it as a source"? That's ridiculous. I cited it for the physicist's role in the movie. As an incidental matter, IMDb confused a second, younger actor with the physicist. Does the rule of not pointing out an inaccuracy in a source one has cited only apply within the same article, or are you supposed to remove citations to a fallible source in other articles you have edited as well? StN (talk) 18:29, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

 Done. I reverted the edit that you made at Nicholas Metropolis. Did you think I wouldn't check who made the edit? Cresix (talk) 00:38, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

I think as long as there is a table, Metropolis should be there (since he has the smallest Erdos-Bacon number registered in the page, through credited appearances). Here is the link to verify his distance to Erdos (as 2): (you need to press "Use Erdos" and then "Search"). As far as I know this is the only credible site for collaborative distance in mathematics. Here are the two refs in bibtex format: @article {MR0031341,

   AUTHOR = {Metropolis, Nicholas and Ulam, S.},
    TITLE = {The {M}onte {C}arlo method},
  JOURNAL = {J. Amer. Statist. Assoc.},
 FJOURNAL = {Journal of the American Statistical Association},
   VOLUME = {44},
     YEAR = {1949},
    PAGES = {335--341},
     ISSN = {0162-1459},
  MRCLASS = {65.0X},
 MRNUMBER = {0031341 (11,138c)},

MRREVIEWER = {J. L. Doob}, }

@article {MR0234838,

   AUTHOR = {Erd{\H{o}}s, Paul and Ulam, S.},
    TITLE = {On equations with sets as unknowns},
  JOURNAL = {Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.},
 FJOURNAL = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United
             States of America},
   VOLUME = {60},
     YEAR = {1968},
    PAGES = {1189--1195},
     ISSN = {0027-8424},
  MRCLASS = {04.60},
 MRNUMBER = {0234838 (38 \#3152)},

MRREVIEWER = {A. H. Stone}, }

Then, here are the IMDB links for the Bacon distance:

Metropolis and Blythe Danner are in:

Blythe Danner and Bacon are in:

This gives him an Erdos-Bacon distance of 4.

I fully agree. Would the editor who listed these sources please make the addition? StN (talk) 04:32, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Nicholas Metropolis should be on the list, with an Erdos-Bacon number of no more than 4. But User:Cresix has repeatedly reverted the entry, falsely claiming mistaken identity. StN (talk) 06:27, 11 November 2014 (UTC)


I'm not in any way a major editor of Wikipedia, but I happened to be reading all this talk page drama and I feel as though there would be an easier way to resolve some of the issues. I feel as though the beginning of the article should have a section - particularly well-sourced - showing that Wikipedia didn't make this concept up and it's useful as a kind of rough tool to estimate someone's mathematical and cinematic levels of fame. Right now, it really does seem like a silly little piece of trivia people use to be goofy, but it honestly is an interesting tool that explores how mathematics and cinema connect with both themselves and one another. I feel like with more of an introduction and even analysis of its usefulness, this page would actually become very interesting and notable. Verin (talk) 19:50, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Articles that are properly sourced (as this one is for the most part) don't need a disclaimer that "Wikipedia didn't make this concept up"; that's understood. If someone simply makes something up and puts it on Wikipedia, it's usually removed very quickly. How useful the article is, is a matter of opinion. So far the article has survived multiple attempts to get it deleted, so it's obvious that more than a few people find it at least interesting and notable, even if not terribly "useful". There will always be a faction of people here who don't want anything that isn't considered to be a cornerstone of Western civilization; fortunately there are enough broad minded and reasonable people to keep that in check. Actually, if you look around on talk pages, I think you'll see that this article is relatively low on conflicts. The major challenge on this article is keeping the entries well sourced; there are lots of people who want to add themselves, their cousin, their best friend etc. with no evidence that they have a legitimate Bacon or Erdos number. But if you have specific ideas for improving the explanations for the notability of this concept (especially if the ideas are well sourced), then by all mean write about it here and we can discuss. Thanks. Cresix (talk) 01:44, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Erdős' Bacon number[edit]

On the article it states that Erdős' Bacon number is incorrectly thought to be three, via Gene Patterson. According to Google, however, it is actually three via Peter Berg and Chris Penn. Is that correct? Wouldn't that also make Erdős the person with the lowest Erdős-Bacon number? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Novakog (talkcontribs) 20:04, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

You're going to have to give us some more detail. I assume you mean that you did a Google search and hit a website claiming that Erdos has a Bacon number. Wikipedia has standards for what is considered a reliable source. If you could give us a link to a website making such a claim, we might be able to determine if that website meets Wikipedia's standards. To my knowledge, Erdos was never in a film with either Peter Berg or Chris Penn; but if you think he was, and if you can give us the name of the film, it should be easy to determine if Erdos is listed in the cast. But the fact is, the only film that Erdos has appeared in is N Is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdös, and neither Berg nor Penn is in that film. Cresix (talk) 00:39, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

The shortest credible path I can find on IMDb is:

  1. Paul Erdös and Ronald Graham in N Is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdös (1993)
  2. Ronald Graham and Steven Berkoff in Horizon: Ep 46.12 – To Infinity and Beyond (2010)
  3. Steven Berkoff and Jane Seymour (I) in War and Remembrance: (1988) Ep 1.6 – Part 6
  4. Jane Seymour (I) and Kevin Bacon in The 53rd Annual Golden Globe Awards (1996) (TV)

This gives Erdös a Bacon number of 5.

There are other paths that yield a Bacon number of 3 but they are likely based on two actors with the same name not having separate IMdb articles (yet):

I think I agree that this is all OR. Ideally, we should find where someone has researched and written about this and simply cite their work instead of searching/researching on IMDb ourselves. OTOH, I suppose I'm citing the Oracle of Bacon site, since it was used as a tool to find the path cited. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 08:49, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

The path above (via Jane Seymour) technically does not qualify. Bacon connections must be with films, not TV shows. Cresix (talk) 00:02, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
If you invoke the following Google search query, it gives an info box with info from Google about the path. It lists the following:
Paul Erdős's Bacon number is 3
Paul Erdős and Peter Berg appeared in N Is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdős.
Peter Berg and Chris Pine appeared in Smokin' Aces.
Chris Pine and Kevin Bacon appeared in Beyond All Boundaries.
Isn't this a valid path? If not, why? Eranb (talk) 11:36, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't see Peter Berg listed at N Is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdős (cast) —[AlanM1(talk)]— 01:22, 11 December 2012 (UTC)


This article is a joke, right? --Mortense (talk) 16:00, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

The article is not but the concept it describes arguably is - though it's the kind of joke that still makes a point. --WBTtheFROG (talk) 14:03, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Recent pruning[edit]

On February 9, a single editor singlehandedly wiped out half the article because it was "unsourced" or sometimes "inadequately sourced" (which, to be honest, it was, but he should've at least properly discussed it).
Could that please be added back article as it is now is kind of ridiculous, with the table including a bunch of ridiculous obscurities (of which three don't even have articles, appearing as red links) but missing pretty much everyone actually famous (such as Feynman).

And just in case: if someone manages to get a source that (e.g.) Aaron Q. Riesenschnauzer, who is otherwise not famous for anything at all, has a finite Erdos-Bacon number, would that mean he would be included in the table? We almost got it with Karl Schaffer (but presumably that wasn't sourced enough, as his entry disappeared in the cleanup); but it's very much possible with even less famous people (heck, my mother has an Erdos number of 5, and the only reason she doesn't have a Bacon number yet is that she turned down several offers to appear in movies). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:33, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

Removing unsourced material does not require "discussion", whether it's done by one editor or a hundred editors. Any unsourced information can be challenged and removed. Read WP:V and WP:RS. And look at the history of the article, which is replete with many, many people adding themselves or their favorite person without a shred of sourcing. I could add myself on the basis that I was one person in a crowd of hundreds in a film, but I can't source that so I don't add it. And if you think the table is a "bunch of ridiculous obscurities", then instead of arguing that more unsourced entries be added, make a case here for which of the "ridiculous obscurities" should be removed and get a consensus. I am fine if the entire table is omitted, but not added to without sources. Cresix (talk) 15:26, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Okay, a particular example. My mother has an Erdos number of 5 through her biological publication(s) from her brief time at Weizmann, and the only reason she doesn't have a Bacon number yet is that she declined several offers to appear in (documentary) films. She is not actually in any way famous for anything (not even in biology, which she in fact left over ten years ago); her only claim to fame is basically being my mother (it's a long story that makes a little more sense in context, but yes, this is why the film offers were made, and no, I'm not particularly famous either). So, the obvious question: had she agreed to appear in these movies, and assuming her then-inevitable Bacon number could be sourced, would it have been enough for her to appear in the article? (I repeat it again in case you didn't notice: she's not actually famous for anything, and even if she did appear in these films she probably still wouldn't have been famous because the films were ridiculously obscure.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:23, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Anon, if you are the same person as anon (you both geolocate to the Russian Federation; and it would help if you identify yourself as the same person), then again, if you think there are ridiculous obscurities in the table, please point out the ones you think should be deleted and explain why. I don't have a problem removing some of the entries. I have a serious problems with adding entries without proper sourcing. Cresix (talk) 01:42, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm the same person, yes :-) I don't want anything in the table to be deleted, as it's ridiculously small already. But if you really want to delete some, a good guideline would be "notability" (i.e. at least already having an article about them). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
I can accept the table as it is, even though I prefer deleting it. But I cannot accept adding people anywhere in the article (text or table) without reliable sources, which is why I did the "pruning". Cresix (talk) 15:20, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Albert-László Barabási[edit]

Albert-László Barabási has a finite Erdös-Bacon number of at most 5. According to his Wikipedia page, his Bacon number is 1. According to, Barabási has an Erdös number of at most 4. I'm not experience enough with Wikipedia, but I thought someone else might be interested in adding him to the list of people with finite Erdös-Bacon number. MaximalIdeal (talk) 22:05, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

The Bacon link doesn't hold up to scrutiny. The source in his article is a dead link, and the usual ways to determine Bacon number (IMDb and Oracle of Bacon) make no connection. Furthermore, the source you provide makes no link with Erdos. Either of those problems alone rules him out. I removed the info about EBN from his article. Likely yet another instance of someone's attempt to get their favorite person a bit of fame on Wikipedia with no evidence. Cresix (talk) 00:35, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Sorry Cresix, but probably you shoud see this IMDb link: , which is about Barabási and Bacon's common documentary film (from 2008).
Conform (mentioned by MaximalIdeal): MR Erdos Number = 4
* Albert-László Barabási coauthored with A. Schubert MR1943379
* A. Schubert coauthored with András Telcs MR0749220 (86b:62022)
* András Telcs coauthored with Nicholas C. Wormald MR1742145 (2001m:60199)
* Nicholas C. Wormald coauthored with Paul Erdős1 MR0879334 (88d:05090)
Also, Barabási himself wrote in his book (Linked: The New Science of Networks, page 48): "My Erdos number is also four: Erdos wrote a paper wiith Joseph E. Gillis, who had ..."[1]
So, according to these sources, Barabási's Erdős-Bacon number is 5! Someone, please add him to the list.--Akinom91 (talk) 00:08, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Looks good to me! I see no reason why he shouldn't be added, especially since his EB number is relatively low. MaximalIdeal (talk) 22:26, 3 November 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ afterword], Albert-László Barabási ; [with a new (2003). [Linked: The New Science of Networks Linked : how everything is connected to everything else and what it means for business, science, and everyday life] Check |url= value (help) ([Nachdr.]. ed.). New York, NY [u.a.]: Plume. ISBN 9780452284395. 

Mayim Bialik?[edit]

She published an article with Ahmad Hariri[1] of Duke. Hariri has two papers published with Paul J. Rathouz[2][3]. Paul J. Rathouz has an Erdös number of no more than 4[4][5][6][7]. This gives Bialik an Erdös number of no more than 6.

She also has a Bacon number of no more than 2 according to the Oracle of Bacon, so her Erdös-Bacon number is 8. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:49, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Does Hedy Lamarr have one?[edit]

She's an accomplished actress and mathematician. I know she has a Bacon number, but can't find a paper that puts her on the collaboration graph. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:25, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Does Collin Mulliner have one?[edit]

From his website it looks like he has Erdős-Bacon number of 8 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:53, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

E-B number for W.R. Elsberry[edit]

I'm not comfortable modifying the article myself, but I think I can claim an Erdős–Bacon number for myself.

Erdős number: 2

Wesley R. Elsberry and Jeffrey O. Shallit. 2011. Information theory, evolutionary computation, and complex specified information. Synthese 178(2):237-270. Source: Google Scholar

Erdős, P. and Shallit, J.O. 1991. "New bounds on the length of finite Pierce and Engel series. Sem. Theor. Nombres Bordeaux 3, 43-53. Source: Wikipedia

Bacon number: 2

Nova "Judgment Day", 2007. Narrator: Jay. O. Sanders. Archival material: Wesley R. Elsberry. Source: PBS

"JFK", 1991. Jay O. Sanders as Lou Ivon, Kevin Bacon as Willie O'Keefe. Source: IMDB

I will leave whether this is suitable for inclusion in the main article to the editors.

-- Wesley R. Elsberry (talk) 01:18, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Nope, TV connection with Bacon does not give you a Bacon number. (talk) 00:18, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Not necessarily. For example, see the Stephen Hawking entry. There are no universal rules for Bacon numbers; some consider TV links to be perfectly acceptable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:08, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

E-B Number for Victor Miller[edit]

I can claim an E-B number of 4:

Erdos Number: 2

Computing 𝜋 (𝑥): the Meissel-Lehmer method ∗ JC Lagarias, VS Miller, AM Odlyzko - Mathematics of Computation, 1985

On the density of odd integers of the form (p − 1)2−n and related questions

P Erdös, A.M Odlyzko Journal of Number Theory Volume 11, Issue 2, May 1979, Pages 257–263

Bacon Number: 2

I was an extra in "A Beautiful Mind" (I can give a reference to an article I wrote about it for a local newspaper). Ed Harris was in "A Beautiful Mind" and he was in "Apollo 13" with Kevin Bacon

Here's my Wikipedia Page: — Preceding unsigned comment added by VictorSMiller (talkcontribs) 00:43, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Nope, you have to be credited in a film, and you are not. (talk) 00:19, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

EB Number for Donovan Hare[edit]

I believe I have an EB Number of 5.

I have an Erdős number of 2. One such path is: MR1030378 (91b:05073) 05C15 (05C35 05C65)

Abbott, H. L.; Hare, D. R. Sparse color-critical hypergraphs. Combinatorica 9 (1989), no. 3, 233–243. 

and MR335283 (49 #65) 05A15 (10A40)

Abbott, H. L.; Erdős, P.; Hanson, D. On the number of times an integer occurs as a binomial coefficient. Amer. Math. Monthly  81  (1974), 256–261. 

I have a Bacon number of 3. One such path is: Donovan Hare was in "One Man" (1977) with Len Cariou

Len Cariou was in "About Schmidt" (2002) with Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson was in "A Few Good Men" (1992) with Kevin Bacon dhare (talk) 03:46, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Please put citations in the article if you wish to add yourself. Everyone and his brother claims an EB number here. Sundayclose (talk) 21:10, 13 March 2015 (UTC)


Hunh? The Oracle of Bacon says David Eisenbud has a Bacon number of infinity. So why is it listed differently in the sortable table? Crasshopper (talk) 07:25, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Kiralee Hayashi[edit]

Is there any evidence whatsoever that Kiralee Hayashi, American stunt woman, actress and gymnast, ever attended UCLA? or, co-authored papers such as these? Her website is remarkably coy about her mathematical skills. I'm tempted to call BS. Narky Blert (talk) 21:50, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

I have the same question with respect to academic publications. (She clearly did attend UCLA -- see edits on the gymnast's page adding references to UCLA Bruins website.) I added "reported to be" on gymnast Hayashi's page, where there is an unsourced claim to an Erdos-Bacon number. (Should that whole claim be removed? I'm too junior to determine.) There is a Kiralee M. Hayashi who has co-authored an apparently significant number of neuroscience-ish papers associated with the UCLA school of medicine in the 2000s. Not the same person? I have no evidence, but it seems unlikely that no articles (that I could find) on the gymnast/actor would mention this "brainy" side, since that kind of link is often irresistible for journalists writing about women known for physical attributes such as being an actress & gymnast.--Plato Shrimp (talk) 12:20, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

I wrote a blog post where I stated "According to her LinkedIn Profile she has worked at the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI), – a well-known neuroimaging research group." I cannot verify that from LinkedIn nor Internet Archive now. — fnielsen (talk) 23:52, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
I asked her through Twitter: (talk) 08:30, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

The scientific co-author path can now been seen with Scholia,Q173746. According to The Oracle of Bacon she should have a Bacon number of 2, but I cannot find her in the cast of Jayne Mansfield's Car (2012) on IMDb. Why is the oracle says that she was a cast member? — fnielsen (talk) 22:23, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Only credited roles can be used for Bacon numbers. Her role in the film is uncredited. She has no finite Bacon number that you have identified. Sundayclose (talk) 22:30, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

As I see it there three issue: Whether the person is one person, her Erdös number and her Bacon number.

  1. Hayashi has confirmed via Twitter that she is the same person: I presume no one is any longer challenging that? And surely she is a reliable source herself on this account?
  2. Hayashi's Erdos number is 3 beyond doubt. This is clear from Paul Thompsons webpage From there we can follow the articles: and;2-A/abstract and This path is also plotted with Scholia,Q173746 Are there anyone challenging this path?
  3. The Oracle of Bacon clearly states that she has a Bacon Number of two This seems now to have been brought in doubt. At least I can find neither Kiralee nor Hayashi in the list of cast to Jayne Mansfield's Car (2012) which The Oracle points to. So is the problem that The Oracle is not a reliable source? This was surely not the issue first brought up by User:Narky Blert in this thread.

fnielsen (talk) 22:59, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Twitter is entirely irrelevant, as you have already been told. No, she certainly is not a reliable source for herself. Wikipedia does not include self-published sources such as Twitter as reliable sources. Take a minute to read policies about reliable sources, including WP:SELFPUBLISH. I can claim an EBN on my Twitter account, but that doesn't make it true. So strike that as an issue. Her Erdos number is not in dispute. Regarding Bacon number, so far you have claimed a Bacon number in your link above based on an uncredited role (Balls of Fury). Take a few seconds to actually look at the film's official credits. If her name is not in the film's credits, she has no Bacon number through that film. So this really comes down to one and only one issue: it needs to be demonstrated that she has a credited role that connects her to Bacon through films. Provide that with a reliable source (not Twitter) and the problem may be solved. But your continuing to edit war without sufficient sourcing solves nothing. Instead of wasting everyone's time here with untenable arguments, find the reliably sourced connection to Bacon. That's how it works with all the other items in this article. Sundayclose (talk) 23:16, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Just for clarification: I am not claiming her EBN to be 5 through the "5" she wrote on Twitter. I was basing it on The Oracle of Bacon. — fnielsen (talk) 08:28, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
If you're not making any claim about Twitter, then WHAT IS THE POINT of making that your first issue above? And, AGAIN, you haven't demonstrated that she is connected to Bacon through a film credit. Please provide a reliable source or drop this and move on. Sundayclose (talk) 15:20, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Max Tegmark, MIT Physics professor seems to have a combined number of 4[edit]

erdos 2 thru Harold S Shapiro Bacon 2 thru Morgan Freeman

Sources please. Sundayclose (talk) 21:08, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

E-B eight for Graeme Simsion[edit]

[Source - [Extract - "Nerd fact: My (Kevin) Bacon number is 4 – Self – Dominique Simsion (Voluntary Act) – Beth Child (Push Up) – Meryl Streep (Evil Angels) – Kevin Bacon (The River Wild) My Erdos number is 4: Self – Daniel Moody – Amotz Bar-noy – Nathan Linial – Paul Erdos …. … which gives me the (rare) Erdos-Bacon number of 8. Colin Firth and Natalie Portman have 6s. Partner also 8. Of course." [[[Special:Contributions/|]] (talk) 08:54, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

If you want your name in the article, you need much better sourcing than your personal website. See WP:RS and WP:V. Sundayclose (talk) 13:27, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

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Paul Fendley[edit]

I have heard that he ( ) has a number of 5 if you count an occasion when he appeared as an uncredited extra in a barely visible scene with Bacon. If this counts, does anyone know this particular movie? — Preceding unsigned comment added by AHusain3141 (talkcontribs) 16:27, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Mathematical articles?[edit]

I don't think it's only mathematical articles that determine your Erdős number, but academic papers in general. Digilus (talk) 20:33, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

@Digilus: I agree, and many of the examples use academic articles that are not mathematical. I corrected the lead to the article. Thanks for mentioning this. Sundayclose (talk) 21:31, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

Kenneth Hodges[edit]

Yesterday I added a paragraph to this page on Kenneth Hodges, who has an Erdos-Bacon number of four, which I believe is the lowest known. See:

My change was promptly removed, with the complaint that I didn't cite sources. In fact, I cited four sources, including the Erdos Number Project, a list of publications from New Mexico State University, and IMDB. I know that the reliability of IMDB is a source of controversy; I could cite Allmovie if that's better. What additional citations do I need? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Toschlog (talkcontribs) 16:45, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Mr. Hodges, your citation to IMDb confirmed that you were in Stand by Me. You did not cite a connection to Bacon. One more problem: IMDb has pages for three actors named "Kenneth Hodges"; we need confirmation that the one you link is actually you. By the way, one of your "four sources" is meaningless; it links to your personal page at the university, which doesn't confirm anything. Sundayclose (talk) 23:54, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

Kristen Stewart - lower Erdös number[edit]

Hi folks,

Getting the elephant in the room out of the way here - I'm coauthor of the paper with Kristen.

That said: Kristen should have an Erdös number of 5. Here's the sequence:

1. Kristen coauthored 'Bringing Impressionism to Life with Neural Style Transfer in Come Swim' with Bhautik Joshi ( 2. Bhautik Joshi coauthored 'Application-Driven Quantitative Assessment of Approaches to Mesh Generation' with Simon K Warfield ( 3. Simon Warfield coauthored 'An EM algorithm for shape classification based on level sets.' with Alan S Willsky ( 4. Allan Willsky coauthored 'Energy-Latency Tradeoff for In-Network Function Computation in Random Networks' with Béla Bollobás ( 5. Béla Bollobás coauthored 'Random induced graphs' with Paul Erdös (


Feel free to verify for yourself.

-b — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bhautikj (talkcontribs) 03:26, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

Several problems. Whether or not you co-authored anything is irrelevant. Wikipedia requires a reliable source. Secondly, the name Kristen Stewart is not unusual, and there's no evidence this is the same person as the actress. In fact, she never attended school after high school, so it's quite dubious that at 26-year-old with no college would publish in a scientific journal. Furthermore, the very source you cite above ( fails to verify a connection between anyone named "Kristen Stewart" and Erdos. Nice try, but your claim is bogus. Sundayclose (talk) 21:49, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
If you're looking for proof that the coauthor of the paper is the same as the actress:
Bhautikj (talk) 23:59, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

A few things: a) Seeing how it's a newly published paper it might take time to propagate the author into b) I believe Bhautik was disclosing as to avoid a possible COI edit c) The 'quite dubious' claim is debunked as per the press coverage/the collaboration is valid. That said, the question here is if a non-peer reviewed publication (on arXiv) counts as a valid point to measure distance. (update) is backed by which includes once they crawl and update, it should appear there. —ayman (talk) 17:12, 6 February 2017 (UTC)


Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Erdős–Bacon number (3rd nomination) This is not a joke. I am dead serious. L3X1 (distant write) 04:40, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Combine Kevin Bacon Number and Erdős Couch Number[edit]

The multi-relational version of the small world phenomenon is sorely mis-tried by using relations that have lurking causal correlations and therefore yield skewed results. For example, "attended same school as" combined with "wrote a paper with" are too highly correlated. Thus the intense interest of the Erdős–Bacon number. A problem with the Erdős number is that too few people write mathematical papers, which could be curable by using the more democraric Erdős Couch Number instead. It's likely that more people sit on couches, worldwide, than write mathematical articles.[citation needed] Lisa Holhlfeld has both a Kevin Bacon number of 1 ( ) and an Erdős Couch Number of 2[citation needed]. How many other stellarly low-numbered cases are lurking out there? This would cry out for research but for the problem of documenting the couch side. As we move towards the boon of constant universal surveillance (as in The Circle (2017 film)), couch numbers become derivable from automated video analysis of every pair sitting on a couch. A huge couch dataset will result. This suggests creation of a "Erdős Couch-Kevin Bacon Number" properly defined. The obstacle for WP coverage wouldn't be WP:NOR, WP:N or WP:PN but rather, for now, WP:V and WP:CS.2605:6000:ED0D:9E00:1028:182:17D6:4882 (talk) 02:59, 17 May 2017 (UTC)