Brian May has an Erdős number

If you’ve heard of Erdős Numbers, Erdős-Bacon Numbers, and the fact that Queen lead guitarist Brian May has a PhD, you may have wondered whether Brian May has a well-defined Erdős-Bacon number. As a matter of fact, he does: Brian May’s Erdős-Bacon number is at most 10 (and his Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath number is at most 11). Here’s how the rock legend is connected to the centres of cinema and academia.

Bacon number: 3

Thanks to IMDB and the Oracle of Bacon, Bacon numbers are easy to find. The guitarist’s credited voice role as “Massed Peasant Chorus/Chamberlain” in The Adventures of Pinnochio makes him only three films away from Kevin Bacon.

Brian May
The Adventures of Pinnochio
Martin Landau
Ed Wood
Bill Murray
Wild Things
Kevin Bacon
 

Erdős number: 7

In mathematics, the equivalent tool to the Oracle of Bacon is MathSciNet’s collaboration distance tool. Unfortunately, it does not catalogue the astrophysics journals Brian May has published in, so his Erdős number has to be found manually. The best previous attempt I found was a path of length eight, through a popular science book cowritten by May. However, I managed to find a shorter path, starting with a letter published in Nature.

Brian May
MgI emission in the night sky spectrum
T.R. Hicks
The structure of NGC 7027
J.P. Phillips
QCD: quantum chromodynamic diffraction
K. Golec-Biernat
Integrable Hamiltonian system in *2N* dimensions
Th.W. Ruijgrok
On the dynamics of a continuum spin system
C.J. Thompson
On the mathematical mechanism of phase transition
Mark Kac
The Gaussian law of errors in the theory of additive number theoretic functions
Paul Erdős