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. 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 MayThe Adventures of Pinnochio
Martin LandauEd Wood
Bill MurrayWild 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 MayMgI emission in the night sky spectrum
T.R. HicksThe structure of NGC 7027
J.P. PhillipsQCD: quantum chromodynamic diffraction
K. Golec-BiernatIntegrable Hamiltonian system in 2N dimensions
Th.W. RuijgrokOn the dynamics of a continuum spin system
C.J. ThompsonOn the mathematical mechanism of phase transition
Mark KacThe Gaussian law of errors in the theory of additive number theoretic functions
Paul Erdős 

This gives Brian May an Erdős-Bacon number of at most 10, and the smallest known Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath number of 11.