Saturday, July 18, 2009

Erdos number

I met with the Hungary born mathematician Peter Frankl for a radio program at NHK

Peter is a fascinating character. He is also known for his juggling acts. He said he started practicing for street performances as juggling was more visible to people. Mathematical problems are notoriously difficult to come across.

While discussing, Peter casually mentioned that he has written several papers with Paul Erdos. "Are, you are Erdos number one, then!" I exclaimed. So far in my life, the smallest Erdos number that I encountered was three.

"As Paul Erdos is sadly no longer with us," Peter said, "it is now impossible to become Erdos number one any more".

My only hope is that if I write a paper with Peter Frankl, I would get Erdos number two. Peter said he was working on a paper on quasi-random graphs. My Ph.D. thesis was on an application of graphic transformation.

As I left the studio, the shining smile of Peter Frankl remained with me, to illuminate and inspire.

With Peter Frankl in the NHK studio.


Utako said...

It's an interesting network though I haven't known Erdos number before. It looks like a family degree as parents=1, brothers and sisters=2,... I feel broad minded social orientations and pretensions in it.

We have a similar network by honoring pioneers. For example, I am an old friend of " Kaonasi "(No Face in " Spirited Away ") and have worked once with the owner of the voice " A,a,a...ah ", so I get Ghibli number 2 ? There will be hundreds of members like this.

As we don't have enough power to express ourselves, there are deep respects, boasts and wishes to inherit the spirit of seniors.

David Stern said...

I just worked out that my Erdös number is 5. I have met some 3's (economists) who worked with the guys I worked with.