Once upon a time, I had enabled comments for this site but never received any that weren’t spam. And then I discovered Brian Cox’s Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath number.

It has just been pointed out to me that I have an Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number !! http://t.co/ForMwfpC

— Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) June 26, 2012

Overnight, I received dozens of interesting and well-researched conjectures, which eventually led me to create the Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath website. Now that this site no longer allows comments, I have archived the original thread for posterity.

ACR — 26 Jun 2012

“Unfortunately, the connections from Edison to modern-era artists are likely lost to history, but it is clear that he deserves at least honorary Bacon and Sabbath numbers.”

The “Mary Had a Little Lamb” recording is sampled at the start of Chumbawamba’s track “The Wizard of Menlo Park” from the album “Un”, if anybody wants to start from there…

Jo — 26 Jun 2012

Sir David Attenborough did a spoken word version of “What a Wonderful World” over the orchestral score for a series of BBC links for the Natural History department if that helps his Sabbath score at all

Daibhid C — 26 Jun 2012

Another crazy longshot idea, but it turns out the author Sir Terry Pratchett has a Bacon number of 2

Terry Pratchett - (Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic) ->

Sean Astin - (White Water Summer)->

Kevin Bacon

A Erdos number of 4 (if popular science books count)

Terry Pratchett - (The Science of Discworld)->

Ian Stewart - (Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.) 11)->

Martin A. Golubitsky - (Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 77 )->

Bruce L. Rothschild - (J. Combinatorial Theory Ser. A 14)->

Paul Erdos

And a Sabbath number of 5

Terry Pratchett inspired and contributed to the album From The Discworld by

Dave Greenslade ( Colosseum)->

Dick Heckstall-Smith (The Graham Bond Organisation)->

Ginger Baker (Cream)->

Jack Bruce who performed on the album Ward One by

Bill Ward of Black Sabbath

So he has a Bacon-Erdos-Sabbath number of 11.

Ross Churchley — 26 Jun 2012

Nice! A couple of those links are a little unorthodox, but I like it. The question is now: does anyone have a Stibbons-Tugelbend-Band With Rocks In number?

Mike Whitaker — 26 Jun 2012

You can drop Cox’s Bacon number to 2 - Cox -> Jonathan Ross (as before) -> Kevin Bacon (if you’re allowing TV - on the BBC’s Film review programme in 2005).

Tim t — 26 Jun 2012

Phil Plait appeared on the record “Trebuchet” (Track 11: Death from the Skies) by

by George Hrab (Geologic Orchestra, Philly Funk Authority) ->


I’m going to call this to the attention of George, he might be able to fill out the rest.

Tim Farley — 26 Jun 2012

Phil Plait has a Bacon number of 3, he calculated it himself here:\


Tim Farley — 26 Jun 2012

Phil Plait’s Erdos number is 3:\


Ross Churchley — 26 Jun 2012

I think I got one. George Hrab played drums for the Eric Mintel Quartet. Another drummer for them was Dave Mohn, who claims on his website to have recorded (with another band) a CD produced by Phil Nicolo. Phil and his brother have produced quite a few other albums, including Dog Eat Dog’s “Play Games,” which features a song with vocals by Ronnie James Dio, who was in Black Sabbath.

This would give Phil Plait a Sabbath number of 5, and (thanks to Tim Farley’s sleuthing), a EBS number of 11.

Parax — 26 Jun 2012

Perhaps Woody Paul (Paul Chrisman) of Riders in the Sky?



Famine — 26 Jun 2012

While I appreciate I fall well short on the “well-known person” front, I have an Erdös-Bacon-Sabbath number of 12ish - though I’m struggling through publications to narrow down the Erdös part.

I’ve appeared on TV (GT Academy, UK Channel 4) with Sabine Schmitz, who has been on Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson, who has been on Top Gear with Michael Fassbender, who has appeared in X-Men: First Class with Kevin Bacon, giving me a Bacon number of 4.

I’ve recorded an album, albeit when I was still at school, called “All That Jazz” with Andy Cato of Groove Armada, who has collaborated with Will Young (Changes, History), with whom Adam Wakeman of Black Sabbath plays keyboard on Echoes, giving me a Sabbath number of 3.

The last part gives me trouble. I’ve co-authored a single paper in the field of cancer research and, though I can get from Erdos to geneticist Eric Lander (Erdos number of 2), I’m having a little difficulty getting from Lander to any of my co-authors just yet - I imagine there’ll around 2 steps in there (if anyone fancies lending a hand, please contact me), with the single step to get back to me making an Erdos number of 5, for a E-B-S number of 12. Ish.

So it’s possible even for normal people!

Ross Churchley — 26 Jun 2012

Nice! I have a friend with an Erdös number of two (through Lovász) and a Sabbath number of three due to a Vancouver Symphony concert conducted by someone who produced something by Madonna. I told him to start auditioning for movies.

Let us know what your Erdös number turns out to be!

Fifi — 26 Jun 2012

I was wondering about Lisa Kudrow, I know she did science before tv.

Ross Churchley — 26 Jun 2012

Unfortunately, Google Scholar doesn’t turn up any articles by Lisa Kudrow. Her role in “Friends” is, however, apparently used as an example in a number of psychology papers. Good guess, though!

Adam Rutherford — 26 Jun 2012

Hilariously, it turns out I have the three:

I have an Erdos number of 6:

I co-authored with Andrew Pomiankowski > Robert M. Seymour > Robert James Elliott > Lawrence Markus > Shizuo Kakutani > Paul Erdős

I have a Bacon Number of 3 (if you count docs):

I was in Rex Appeal (BBC4) with James King, who was in 100 Greatest Movie Stars (2003) with Gary Oldman, who was in Criminal Law (1988) with Kevin Bacon

I have an unlikely Sabbath number of 6:

65 Days of Static remixed a track for a film I made, and they worked with the Cure. Andy Anderson drummed for The Cure, andcollaborated with Peter Gabriel, who played with Tony Levin, who played with Alice Cooper; Eric Singer played for both Alice and Sabbath. Bingo!

Famine — 26 Jun 2012

Hurr. Now we just need to work out a way to make this a marketable skill and we’ll both be well-known enough to be included in the list!

Go normal people!

Ross Churchley — 26 Jun 2012

Wow. Thanks for leaving a comment! I’ve updated the post with your EBS number and the others discovered on this thread.

Alex Gray — 26 Jun 2012

I’ll put a name out there: Terry Jones. I’m sure he must have Bacon and Sabbath numbers, and there’s a good chance he’s got an Erdos number, maybe through one of his co-authors on “Who Killed Chaucer?”.

Alex Gray — 26 Jun 2012

Terry Jones’ Bacon number is 2, and his Sabbath number is no more than 5:

Terry Jones has recorded with…

Maddy Prior, who was in Steeleye Span with…

Ashley Hutchings, who was in Fairport Convention as was just about everyone in the world at some point, but in particular…

Dave Pegg, who was in The Uglys as was…

Richard Tandy, who was in ELO with…

Bev Bevan, who was drummer with Black Sabbath for a short time.

Ross Churchley — 16 Jul 2012

I don’t know enough about historical research to know whether “Who Murdered Chaucer” counts as an academic publication, but there might be enough there to at least put him on the honorary list. Does anyone who has read the book want to weigh in?

Tim Farley — 26 Jun 2012

I think I can make a case for magician James Randi having a EBS number of 10.

His Erdos number is 5:\


Tim Farley — 26 Jun 2012

Ooops, didn’t mean to hit send…

James Randi’s Bacon number is 2:

He was in Penn & Teller Get Killed with…

Camille Saviola who was in Queens Logic with..

Kevin Bacon.

His Sabbath number is 2:

He toured with Alice Cooper as part of his stage show for 2 years, playing the part of a mad scientist on stage. Here are photos:\


There is video of this, not sure if Alice Cooper did a concert film or what. Maybe that’s tenuous because it’s not a record?

So he worked with Alice Cooper who had in his band…

Eric Singer who also played for…

Black Sabbath.

So James Randi’s total number is 10.

Alex Gray — 26 Jun 2012

OK, first attempt at connecting David Attenborough to Black Sabbath. I admit the BBC Symphony Orchestra is stretching the definition of “band” a bit, but…

David Attenborough has performed with…

The BBC Symphony Orchestra, who appeared on an album by…

Frank Zappa, whose band later included guitarist…

Adrian Belew, who went on to join King Crimson along with…

Bill Bruford, who was previously a member of National Health, as was…

Neil Murray, who was later in…

Black Sabbath.

Alex Gray — 26 Jun 2012

I think this has to be considered an “honorary” Sabbath number, but going via the Chumbawamba track mentioned by ACR…

Thomas Edison’s sampled vocal appears on a track by Chumbawamba, whose trumpet player…

Jude Abbott played on a solo album by…

Alan Silson, who was in Mickey Finn’s T.Rex with…

Mickey Finn (well, yeah), who was in T.Rex with…

Gloria Jones, who was in The Blossoms with…

Darlene Love, who recorded “I Hear the Bells” with…

Luther Vandross, who recorded “Lovely Day Part II” with…

Busta Rhymes, who recorded “This Means War!” with…

Ozzy Osbourne from Black Sabbath.

If you count T.Rex and Mickey Finn’s T.Rex as the same band (which not many people do), then you can go straight from Silson to Jones and reduce Edison’s Sabbath number to 7. But you’ve got to admit, 8 is a perfectly respectable (honorary) Sabbath number for a non-performer who died in 1931.

Ross Churchley — 26 Jun 2012

That is some impressive detective work. Thanks!

rossome — 26 Jun 2012

Found another one! Buzz Aldrin.

It’s not so surprising that the second man on the moon has a publication in the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets; coauthor J M Longuski has an Erdös number of five according to MathSciNet.

Aldrin had a cameo in Transformers: Dark of the Moon and thereby has a Bacon number of two.

What you might not have heard of is Buzz’ commemoration to the 40th anniversary of the moon landings: a rap collaboration with Snoop Dogg. Seriously. It seems you can get from Snoop to Ozzy through Busta Rhymes, so Buzz Aldrin has a Sabbath number of 3.

It is probably fitting that the guy on this list whose been farthest out in the actual universe is pretty close to being the Person at the Center of the Universe: he’s got an EBS number of 11.

Mattjohns — 26 Jun 2012

Not sure but I think Edison was sampled on a TMBG track on No! Which would reduce his Sabbath number

Lisa — 26 Jun 2012

Mayim Bialik plays Amy on The Big Bang Theory, and also played Blossom. She has a PhD in Neuroscience. Her Bacon number is 2 according to the Oracle of Bacon. She was in Beaches but apparently her singing was recorded by someone else, which is a bit unfortunate for her Sabbath number. But she has sung in Big Bang Theory, which is produced by Chuck Lorre, who wrote a single for Debbie Harry, who has worked with music engineer/producer Adam Yellin, who has worked with Ozzy. So Sabbath number of 4?

Her PhD dissertation is “Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative, and satiety behaviors in Prader-Willi syndrome”:


I’m not sure how to find her Erdos number, but she must have one! I’m excited to find a woman with an Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number.

Ross Churchley — 26 Jun 2012

Natalie Portman was one of the first three people to have her Erdös-Bacon-Sabbath number discovered, so that would make two!

It’s too bad about Beaches, and I’m not sure whether the BBT connection counts as a music collaboration. But it does tell us that she can sing.

So what we have to do is send this post to the writers of The Big Bang Theory and get them to write an episode based on the main characters trying to give themselves an EBS number that somehow results in a show-stopping number with guest stars Kevin Bacon and Ozzy Osbourne.

Alex Gray — 26 Jun 2012

I’m afraid that according to the originator of the Sabbath number, writing and production don’t count - basically it’s just performing together, or being members of the same band (not necessarily at the same time). So some of those connections above aren’t valid. I think Randi’s connection with Alice Cooper would count, assuming they were performing on stage together at some point and he wasn’t just a support act.


Tim Farley — 26 Jun 2012

I’m a little confused on the Sabbath number, based on some of the examples I’m seeing in the discussion here. Are we trying to get to any Sabbath band member, or does the BAND ITSELF count as a jump?

For example, in this sequence:

James Randi -> Alice Cooper -> Eric Singer -> Black Sabbath

…where Eric Singer was a member of Black Sabbath. Is that a 3 or a 2? Do you count that last arrow between Singer and Sabbath?

Because if that’s 2, then Randi is tied for center at 9 again, even if his Erdos is 5.

Ross Churchley — 26 Jun 2012

Good question. I count every member of Black Sabbath to have Sabbath number 0. Any person who has been in a band or performed with a member of Black Sabbath has a Sabbath number of 1. And so forth.

The definition makes a bit more sense from a graph theoretic standpoint, where we’re looking for the length of a shortest path in a hypergraph. For Sabbath numbers, we’re measuring the distance to one of the hyperedges, which to my knowledge is typically defined to be the minimum distance to one of its nodes.

Alex Gray — 27 Jun 2012

I got one! The actor Colin Firth is listed as co-author of a neuroscience paper (it got a bit of news coverage at the time) http://www.cell.com/current-biology/retrieve/pii/S0960982211002892 with Geraint Rees (Erdos number 5), giving him an Erdos number of 6.

His Bacon number is 1, as they appeared together in “Where The Truth Lies”.

Thanks to his, uh, “singing” in the film Mamma Mia, in which the backing band was headed up by no less than Benny Andersson himself, he has a Sabbath number of no more than 5:

Colin Firth performed with…

Benny Andersson, who was in Abba with…

Anna-Frid Lyngstad, who has performed with…

Phil Collins, who was in Brand X with…

John Goodsall, who was in The Bill Ward Band with…

Bill Ward of Black Sabbath.

So I make that 6+1+5 = 12, all staying strictly within the rules.

Alex Gray — 28 Jun 2012

It struck me that surely, at some point in his career, Phil Collins must have collaborated with someone from Black Sabbath, and indeed he did. Here he is playing alongside Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee concert ten years ago (of course, a certain EBS laureate was on the bill that night as well…):


Which means Colin Firth’s Sabbath number drops to 4 and his EBS number to 11.

Alex Gray — 28 Jun 2012

A thought: if (and yeah, it’s a big “if”) Olivia Judson’s “performance” as Dr Tatiana in the musical TV adaptation of “Dr Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation” counts as both an acting and music role, then she’s in with a shot at an EBS number. I imagine that she can’t be more than three steps from John Maynard Smith (E6) in collaborations, so ought to have a single-digit Erdos number, can claim a Bacon number of 4 via James G Fain (the only other cast member listed on IMDB), and a Sabbath number of 5.

Olivia Judson has worked with…

Ian Siegal, who has worked with…

Dana Gillespie, who has worked with…

David Bowie, who has worked with…

Iggy Pop, who has worked with…

Ozzy Osbourne from Black Sabbath.

Sean — 29 Jun 2012

Hey everyone,

Ross and I have been talking about making a combined list of all the documented holders of Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath numbers. I made a start of it here: http://timeblimp.com/?page_id=195 . It ain’t pretty, but it’ll do for now until Ross and I write the novel, sell the movie rights, etc. Hope you enjoy it, and let me know if you see any errors on there.

CV96 — 13 Jul 2012

I have proof making Thomas Edison a new member.

First, according to the Oracle of Bacon Thomas Edison has a bacon number of 4

Second, I conducted some extensive research to Find Edison’s Sabbath Number and came up with this sequence:

Thomas Edison worked with Stan King of the Golden Gate Orchestra as a part of Edison’s phonograph recording company for the invention

Stan King worked with Bob Zurke when they were members of the Three T’s

Bob Zurke played piano for Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby worked with Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra worked with writer Paul Anka

Paul Anka co-wrote “This Is It” and “Love Never Felt So Good” with Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson co-performed in We are the World with Madonna

Madonna performed background vocals on the pop soundtrack Was (Not Was) for which Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath performed lead vocals.

Making Thomas Edison’s Sabbath Number 8

CV96 — 13 Jul 2012

By the way my previous post gives Thomas Edison a Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number of 6+4+8=18


CV96 — 13 Jul 2012

**Let me correct my previous statement, Thomas Edison is now a true member instead of an honorary member and his EBS# has only increased by one with more solid links**

Phil Plait — 17 Jul 2012

I just realized: Kevin Bacon and I have both been on the Craig Ferguson show (in fact we both won the Golden Mouth Organ). That gives me a Bacon number of 2, if this counts.

LKC — 14 Sep 2012

It seems possible that Hedy Lamarr has an EBS number. Has anyone researched this?

adder0001 — 14 Sep 2012

What about Ben Stein? Almost definitely Bacon-Erdos…

Andrew — 15 Sep 2012

I’ve been trying to calculate an EBS number for Douglas Adams. His Bacon and Sabbath Numbers are both a respectable 2


John Cleese (Monty Python’s Flying Circus Episode 42) ->

Kevin Bacon (The Big Picture)


Performed live with David Gilmour, who has a Sabbath number of 1 through Tony Iommi

His Erdos number is a bit harder as he doesn’t have many non-fiction publications. However I do have a fairly tenuous link

Douglas Adams coauthored Last Chance to See with Mark Carwardine

Carwardine wrote The Encyclopedia of World Wildlife, which contains a forward by Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough and Terence Tao are both corresponding members of the Australian Academy of Science, meaning they have both signed the Charter Book

Terence Tao has an Erdos number of 2, meaning Adams’ is 5, for an EBS of 9

Ross Churchley — 3 Jan 2013

That’s some really good work. I don’t think the Australian Academy of Science Charter is strong enough for us to put Douglas Adams up, but it would be great to have him in the EBS club. I’ll do some work to try to track an Erdös number down.

January First-of-May — 7 Dec 2012

For several weeks, I’ve tried to find an EBS number for David Morgan-Mar (mainly known as the creator of Irregular Webcomic).

His Erdos and Bacon numbers have been known for a long time, and the full paths are on his site, so I think I could spare you the particular details; they happen to be 4 and 3 respectively.

His Sabbath number (if any), however, was quite elusive; his only musical connections I could find were through the podcasts, and they involved either other Comic Irregulars - who, besides being not much more of musicians than DMM himself, were rarely even given a full last name in the credits - or a single obscure Australian band I though was a dead end.

As it turned out, it wasn’t; and it was while browsing about that band’s website that I finally wound the Sabbath number - originally 9, but since revised to 7, which is the version I’m posting here:

David Morgan-Mar collaborated on Irregular Podcast #22 with Evan Dean

Evan Dean was in The People People with Andrew Hillhouse

Andrew Hillhouse was in The Horse You Rode In On with John Turnbull

John Turnbull had played bass for The Ten Tenors

The Ten Tenors co-wrote the album Here’s To The Heroes with Don Black

Don Black collaborated on Bombay Dreams with Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber collaborated on Jesus Christ Superstar with Ian Gillan, of Black Sabbath

…making DMM’s EBS number 4+3+7=14.

What are your opinions - is that correct, and (unlikely) can it be shortened?

Ross Churchley — 3 Jan 2013

That is very cool! DMM definitely has the Erdös number of four, and I am seriously impressed with the sleuthing you did to establish a Sabbath number! Do you have the details on his Bacon number? He’s not in IMDB, and the only reference I saw on his site (Irregular Webcomic #1476) says he didn’t have one, strictly speaking, as of 2007.

Mike Whitaker — 12 Jan 2013

Woody Jones’ Sabbath number is improvable if you allow Bono’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame version of “Gimme Shelter” with Jagger and Fergie. Fergie’s played with Slash, who’s performed live several times as a guest with Ozzy.

Ross Churchley — 12 Jan 2013

Excellent! I’ve updated Woody Paul’s EBS page with this new and improved collaboration path.

Mike Whitaker — 13 Jan 2013

Much better way of skipping one - Bono and Slash played on stage at the 2005 Grammys - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0FIzJ08IvE - live version of Across the Universe, featuring a whole bunch of useful people that it might be worth taking note of for other links!. So that gives us Miskulin->Bono->Slash->Ozzy to reduce Woody’s Sabbath number to a mere 4.

Mike Whitaker — 13 Jan 2013

While I’m on a roll, allow me to drop Mr. Firth’s Sabbath number by one :D

Colin Firth –(Mamma Mia)-> Rutger Gunnarson (bass) –(Adam Ant’s “Strip”)–> Phil Collins (drums) … thereby reducing it to a previous problem :D

Mike Whitaker — 13 Jan 2013

There’s another Edison route of length 6, if the Stan King connection is considered valid, for what it’s worth -

Edison -> Stan King -> Bob Zurke -> Bing Crosby –(“Little Drummer Boy”)-> David Bowie –(“Band Aid”)->Phil Collins–> Ozzy

Also, the link for Adam Ant’s “Strip” (since I lost it and started to doubt myself) - http://www.discogs.com/Adam-Ant-Strip/release/570889 - Collins produced, Gunnarson is credited as brass/strings arrangement. Is that good enough, or no?

Mike Whitaker — 13 Jan 2013

One more (this stuff is addictive): Glenn Tipton’s “Baptizm Of Fire” solo album has both Cozy Powell and Brooks Wackerman on it. Is this enough to get Greg Graffin’s Sabbath number down to 2 (if the fact that they’re not playing on the same actual track doesn’t disqualify it)?

January First-of-May — 14 Jan 2013

I know this has to be a huge stretch, but another one for the conjectures… Simon Singh, known in EBS-related circles as an early populariser of the Erdos-Bacon number.

His directing of the documentary Fermat’s Last Theorem, narrated by Eve Matheson, apparently (I won’t be sure that it’s the same Eve Matheson, but given that the famous one has a lot of roles in BBC TV shows it just might be) gives him a Bacon number of 3 (through Don Whatley); while his infamous “13.7 billion” lyrics to the song Nine Million Bicycles by Katie Melua would give him a Sabbath number of (at most) 4 (through Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, and Terry Chimes).

Given that he’s mainly a scientist, I’m sure he has an Erdos number as well, but I couldn’t find a working path (yet); so, like I said, this is one for the conjectures list!

January First-of-May — 14 Jan 2013

edit: according to the Oracle of Bacon, Simon Singh also appeared as himself in The Most Annoying Pop Songs… We Hate to Love episode 1.4, which also featured Joel Stein (III) who was in Sundance Skippy with Kevin Bacon, making Simon’s Bacon number only 2; his Erdos number is still missing though (but I’m sure we would find something).

Mike Whitaker — 14 Jan 2013

The place to figure out an Erdos number for SS is clearly here - http://www.hep.phy.cam.ac.uk/history/ua2/

Mike Whitaker — 14 Jan 2013

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/016890029090481K might be our man.

January First-of-May — 14 Jan 2013


I was sure that Simon Singh must’ve had to have published something as part of the UA2 collaboration… and indeed he did!

Simon L. Singh, Luigi Di Lella (rest of UA2 collaboration omitted, about 150 more coauthors), “Measurement of the gluon structure function from direct photon data at the CERN $overline{p}$p collider”

Luigi Di Lella, Leon M. Lederman (25 other coauthors omitted), “Determination of the angular and energy dependence of hard constituent scattering from pi0 pair events at the CERN Intersecting Storage Rings”

Leon M. Lederman, Sheldon L. Glashow (no other coauthors), “SSC: The machine for the nineties”

…and two more links up to Erdos, for a total Erdos number of 5.

Which means: Erdos 5, Bacon 2 (apparently), Sabbath 4, EBS=5+2+4=11… much less than I expected, actually.

January First-of-May — 14 Jan 2013

Mike Whitaker, this next one is for you. You’re the music nerd here - I could only follow what I find by cursory googling and using Wikipedia!

The Wikipedia’s page on Erdos-Bacon numbers lists, without much of a link, “Karl Schaffer is a dancer/choreographer” (Erdos 3, Bacon 2).

This appears to be the Karl Schaffer of Math Dance (www.mathdance.org), and with such a profession he’s sure to have a Sabbath number… I just couldn’t find one, yet (well, I did find a promising path, but didn’t get it all the way to Black Sabbath, and I’m not sure if it’s even possible by the particular route I tried to take).

Some promising leads (note: not the route I tried to take) are the link to Keith Devlin and Zambra (http://www.stanford.edu/\~kdevlin/HE.html) - which might just give an EBS number to Devlin as well if we find the Bacon part - and apparently multiple collaborations with Gregg Lizenbery (http://www2.hawaii.edu/\~uhmdance/faculty/bios/lizenbery.html), who seems to be really prolific with lots of dance-related collaborations.

(I wanted to post basically this a few hours ago, but was unable to for some reason; hope I’d be more successful now)

January First-of-May — 14 Jan 2013


Keith Devlin appeared as himself in Hunting The Hidden Dimension (an episode of Nova), which also featured Neil Ross (I); the latter had appeared in Being John Malkovich with Sean Penn (I), who was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon, giving Keith a Bacon number of 3.

According to MathSciNet, his Erdos number is 2 (through Saharon Shelah), so we only need to find the Sabbath connection :-)

Mike Whitaker — 14 Jan 2013

I’m flattered. And smug :D

Karl Schaeffer -> Jenna Purcell (math dance)

Jenna Purcell -> any member of Spinal Tap (guest dancer on 2009 tour @ Paramount Theatre)

Spinal Tap -> Joe Satriani (guested on Break Like The Wind)

…and in the best tradition of math proofs everywhere, that’ll be that reduced to a previous problem, then :D :D

Mike Whitaker — 14 Jan 2013


Ok. So that’s Karl Schaffer with an EBS number of EIGHT, then??????

Mike Whitaker — 14 Jan 2013

(yeah, yeah, nine. Ignore me)

January First-of-May — 14 Jan 2013

And Keith Devlin with an EBS number of ten (Erdos 2, Bacon 3, Sabbath 5 through Schaffer).

Then again, besides the common link, these are actually quite different: Schaffer pretty much personifies the EBS “center of the universe” idea - a person with (admittedly slight) accomplishments in all three fields, without any really obvious major one - while Devlin is proficient in one (mathematics) and the rest just happens to come as side-course.

(Admittedly, if I’m reading the list correctly, Devlin would’ve been the first EBS club member whose main field is actually mathematics… in fact, I wanted to say “the first one whose Erdos number is the smallest of the three” but then remembered about Einstein.)

Coincidentally: Einstein. As I said, Mike (that’s your name right?), you’re the music nerd (maybe the word should’ve been “geek”) here; so could you confirm (and/or improve) the Einstein path I mentioned (quoted from Metafilter with minor improvements at the end)? I researched all these links back on Jan 3, but forgot to save them, and when my browser crashed I didn’t care enough to retry.

Ross Churchley — 14 Jan 2013

Wow, you guys are doing some amazing work! I’ve only just been able to catch up with Andrew’s suggestion of Douglas Adams: I heroically established a proper Erdös number of at most 10 for him and added him to the club.

I’ve got to go do some research now, but later this week I’ll update Woody Paul and Colin Firth’s pages to incorporate @Mike Whitaker’s suggestions. To answer your question: production and arrangement are both valid musical credits, but are “lower quality” than performing credits. We keep track of the shortest path of each “quality level,” so the path using Adam Ant will be added to Firth’s page in addition to the already known path, and Firth’s EBS number will change or not on the front page depending on the settings you choose.

I’ll hold off on Mike’s new Edison path until we can get a supporting reference for the Edison-Stanley King link. And unfortunately, Brooks Wackerman’s performance on Baptizm of Fire doesn’t count, because performances have to be on the same track. I’m certain we’ll be able to get Greg Graffin down to Sabbath number 2 somehow. @doctorgraffin tweeted that Wackerman had played on “the Ozzy video game in 1999” but I haven’t been able to find a link.

@January First-of-May: Looks like those were some inspired conjectures! This weekend I’ll go through all the links you guys provided and make some pages for the new EBS club members.

Ross Churchley — 14 Jan 2013

@January First-of-May: I’m sorry that your comments got stuck in moderation! You’re correct that they were thrown into the queue thanks to the number of external links. I approved all the comments in the moderation queue and then tidied up the duplicates. Since finding external links is kind of the whole point of this thread, I’ve also increased the moderation threshold so it should happen less often.

Mike Whitaker — 14 Jan 2013

Another Wackerman link that MIGHT pan out is a passing mention on http://www.ultimaterhoads.com/viewtopic.php?p=23287 that he may have played on pre-production tracks for the Ozzy album “Down To Earth”

But that’s the only confirmation of it I can find, and I think without checking with a better authority that’s very tenuous on just one forum posting :D

Mike Whitaker — 15 Jan 2013

Still working on Einstein, but….

Terry Pratchett’s Sabbath number is next in line for a pretty savage cut :D

Pratchett -> Dave Greenslade (as before)

Dave Greenslade -> Dave “Clem” Clempson (Colosseum)

Dave “Clem” Clempson -> Cozy Powell (two tracks on ‘Over The Top’)

I make that a rather startling 2.

Mike Whitaker — 15 Jan 2013

And I think I can reduce Brian Cox’s by one, too - that’ll please him…

Brian Cox –> Vinny Burns (Dare)

Vinny Burns –> Don Airey (Ten, “Babylon”)

Don Airey counts as a member of Sabbath according to Discog.com :D

Mike Whitaker — 15 Jan 2013

RE the Pratchett - yes, I shouldn’t post while half awake. :D that is of course another 3 via a different route. The Brian Cox one is sound, though, and I tweeted to draw his attention to it. (I happen to know Vinny, so that was an easier find than some….)

Mike Whitaker — 15 Jan 2013

So: Einstein… :D

I’m laughing. A lot.

Einstein –> the Julliard Quartet - http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20080376,00.html

–> Artie Shaw (same referenced article)

–> Buddy Rich (can you see where this is going yet?)

–> Frank Oz (Animal/Miss Piggy)

–> Ozzy.

January First-of-May — 15 Jan 2013

Okay. This next one is actually a proper conjecture. As in, the “no, I won’t try to immediately find the links, not today anyway” type of conjecture. In fact, the “I’m not sure if these links even exist” type of conjecture.

The Mythbusters. You know, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and the rest of that bunch.

Being, well, the Mythbusters, they won’t have much of a problem with Bacon numbers (I’ve heard somewhere they have a 3 through Obama of all people - and there’s probably a more reasonable link).

Given that they’re very scientific types, I’m sure that at least some of them must have Erdos numbers.

Finally, over their, er, mythbusting career(s), I’m fairly sure they at least once (probably many times) got to perform something musical with some famous musician(s), which would then give them Sabbath numbers (if true).

So what do you think? How realistic this is?

(unrelatedly: are there any musical collaborations by David X. Cohen? or, even better, by Jeff Westbrook? would’ve asked “by Bill Gates” as well but I’m sure the answer would’ve been negative :-) )

(completely unrelatedly, to whoever made this blog theme: are the required fields in the reply form really marked by anything? I barely managed to find them, and that only before I knew where they were in a previous version!)

January First-of-May — 15 Jan 2013

*sorry, that should be “because I knew”, not “before”

Mike Whitaker — 15 Jan 2013

Does the fact that Adam from Mythbusters was an extra in a Billy Joel video count? If so, the Live at Shea Stadium DVD has Roger Daltrey on it, who played with Tony Iommi at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert (now THAT show’s version of We Are The Champions is a RICH source of links, ‘cause everyone was on stage for it!!)

Mike Whitaker — 15 Jan 2013

And while I’m at it, let’s REALLY drop Karl Schaffer’s Sabbath number to 3.

Schaffer -> Jenna Purcell -> Derek Smalls -> Ronnie James Dio (on the Hear’n’Aid charity single).

Mike Whitaker — 15 Jan 2013

One last one for tonight. The Edison link I posted earlier can be reduced by one…

Bowie –> Iommi (Freddie Mercury tribute finale)

Also, Mythbusters Bacon number of 3 is easy to confirm, via CSI cameo -> Gary Sinise and Apollo 13

January First-of-May — 16 Jan 2013

Just realized… MIT Gangnam Style.

It was most assuredly a musical collaboration, and it involved a bunch of people with fairly low Erdos numbers and/or easy Erdos-Bacon numbers (that would be Noam Chomsky).

I won’t dare try to count all the cameos (a lot of them might also be people with low Erdos numbers), but even without that there’s probably a chance to get Noam Chomsky or even Eric Lander (Erdos 2 but unclear Bacon) in the EBS club (though the Sabbath connection would have to somehow go through the Logarhythms, presumably, as I don’t think there were any other actual musicians in there).

Unrelatedly: did the mathematician Irving Kaplansky ever appear in a film? He has an Erdos number of 1, and a Sabbath number of at most 5 through his daughter Lucy Kaplansky (assuming A Song About Pi, with lyrics by Irving and mainly performed by Lucy, counts as a link… it’s tenuous; thereafter the best path I could find goes Lucy to Shawn Colvin to Chris Botti to Bill Bruford to Neil Murray, but there’s probably something shorter).

Relatedly but from the other side: congratulations to Mike (post #1353) for properly assigning Karl Schaffer an EBS number of eight! I believe that Schaffer’s EBS number is somewhat less tenuous than Hawking’s, which if true would presumably make Schaffer the new Center Of The Universe!

Kind of weird this one… in all three fields, he’s basically a nobody (or at best a footnote), but he’s still in all three (unlike pretty much all other EBS club members, where at least one of the three links is a coincidence arising from fame in an unrelated field - indeed sometimes all three are, as for Terry Pratchett or Buzz Aldrin), and the whole small-worldness of it all does the rest: 3+2+3=8.

January First-of-May — 18 Jan 2013

You appear to have used a Symphony of Science portion to give a Sabbath number to Carl Sagan (really, for that guy, it would’ve been better to start from the Golden Record - I know there was a version of this path on MetaFilter somewhere, but don’t recall if it went all the way to Black Sabbath or stopped somewhere partway at some other famous musician).

However, since you did, I see no reason then why its other segments (presumably starting from the ones that include Hawking) shouldn’t be used to establish Sabbath numbers for other participants - such as Neil deGrasse Tyson (Richard Dawkins is also a good one*) - or even find smaller Sabbath numbers for those participants who already have one… such as Richard Feynman, who (it appears) would get a 3 instead of his current 4 (admittedly only as an alternate path).

*) And so is Jane Goodall. I found her an Erdos Number of 5 through Mark Girard, Anup Madan, and either Lander or Koonin (both Erdos 2) as they both were on the same paper (admittedly with over a hundred other coauthors); while her Bacon number is 3 through the documentary Jane’s Journey (which included Angelina Jolie, apparently). I didn’t care enough to find either for Dawkins, but I’m sure he has similar counts (i.e. Erdos about 5 - I know it’s no higher than 8, but haven’t technically found a path of any length - and Bacon 3 or less).

Yet another conjecture-list participant of these series, Sir David Attenborough, already has a Sabbath number, but this one would’ve probably been less (though alternate-y); of course, he isn’t quite in the EBS club, yet, because of problems with his Erdos number (well, technically we could assign him something finite already - through Carwardine - but there’s probably a shorter and/or better path somewhere).

Almost forgot: Phil Plait would get a 4. (Alternately, Dawkins would get a honest highest-standards-level 7, assuming his and Plait’s participations in A Wave of Reason don’t count as “sampled”… I’m not sure about the exact details.)

I probably missed several other good shots at EBS (oh, just found one: Brian Greene; and if we could find out what exactly did Bertrand Russell (who died in 1970) have to do with A Wave Of Reason, well, he does kind of have an Erdos number of 3 - through the Russell-Einstein Manifesto - and a fairly decent Bacon number of 3 as well…)

Completely unrelatedly (yes I know I’m using that word too much): it appears that your (i.e. Ross Churchley) EBS list had, somewhere along the way, significantly diverged from the Timeblimp EBS list (even after your updates earlier this month, there are several people that are in the Timeblimp list but aren’t in yours). Are you planning to do something about that, and if yes then what?

Ross Churchley — 18 Jan 2013

@January First-of-May: First, thanks for your bug report about the WordPress theme. This blog is (now) powered by a very bare-bones theme which is then styled with my own hand-crafted CSS to make it fit in with my other sites. But my CSS is new (and I’m iterating it quickly) so a bug crept in that hid all the “Leave a Reply” labels. It should be fixed now.

As for the Timeblimp list, I believe I’m only missing four names from the list: Christoper Syme, Andrew Evans, Patrick Tewson, and Kool Moe Dee. The first three are regular people who found their own EBS numbers using collaborations (e.g. garage bands) that aren’t documented anywhere online. Sean records their names in the Timeblimp list because they’ve convinced us that they do hold EBS numbers, but they don’t appear here on the “official” list as we can’t find links to cite for each collaboration. In other words, my list and Timeblimp’s diverge here because we’ve decided to make the EBS Project website play by Wikipedia citation rules (while the Timeblimp list still has the freedom to record numbers which are probably correct but unverifiable).

The last difference is rapper Kool Moe Dee, whose EBS number is an original Timeblimp discovery. All the citations are there, but the Erdos component is pretty tenuous — the second link in particular involves two essays contributed to the same anthology. Sean said himself on Twitter that it “probably shouldn’t count” (since we don’t allow papers in the same journal, or songs on the same album) but he added it to his list anyway because of the Rule of Awesome. I’ve held off on adding Kool Moe Dee to this list until we can shore up the Erdos number.

January First-of-May — 18 Jan 2013

That “citations” rule would presumably mean that David Morgan-Mar won’t get the Bacon number of 3 he claims on his site… as much as I tried I couldn’t find any possible citation that he appears in The People vs. George Lucas other than his own words on his site!

Mind you, that won’t disqualify him from EBS - he’ll just have a Bacon number of 4 instead of 3: he did appear in Star Wars: Uncut, and the scene reusals mean there’s only one link between them (and yes, there appear to be references to both of these). Theoretically, a reference could be found that lists the exact reused scenes (I couldn’t find anything like that yet), and then we could check if DMM’s scenes were indeed included; I actually have reasons to believe that they weren’t, and his claim of Bacon 3 is mistaken, but without any references there’s probably no way to tell either way (well, other than to watch both films, which I’m not currently planning to do).

Coincidentally, DMM’s colleague Andrew Shellshear (as described in IWC! #3197) appears to have the exact same Bacon and Sabbath numbers as DMM himself - through almost the exact same paths (differing only in the first step) - and while Microsoft Academic Search doesn’t find him an Erdos number immediately (saying something along the lines of “there is no path”) I did find a plausible path giving him an Erdos number of 7: Andrew J. Shellshear to Ian W. Dall to Douglas J. Kewley to Martin J. Okenham to Mark R. Morelande to Marcus Brazil to Nicholas Wormald to Paul Erdos (and yes, I did check the last two steps on Erdos Number Project; there’s very possibly a 6 somewhere in there but it was enough hassle to find this one). That would be (if correct, and well enough referenced) an EBS of 7+4+7=18 - also known as the first confirmed EBSer to have a higher total number than Thomas Edison :-)

(And yet again unrelatedly, there’s another person suggested multiple times but apparently missing from both your and Timeblimp’s lists: the so-called “Johnny Thompson the magician”. I haven’t tracked down all mentions of him having an EBS number (and I’m not actually sure if it was indeed multiple references or just me seeing the same one several times), but the one I saw last calculated him an EBS number of 13.)

Oh, and about Kool Moe Dee’s more reasonable Erdos number… here’s a path that would likely lead to something (I couldn’t continue it quite all the way to Erdos, but it’s probably possible):

Kool Moe Dee wrote There’s a God on the Mic, which has a foreword by Chuck D

Chuck D wrote Fight the Power: Rap, Race and Reality, which has a foreword by Spike Lee

Spike Lee also wrote the introduction to Malcolm X: The FBI File, which was written by Clayborne Carson

…Clayborne Carson is an actual scientist (historian), and he’s even on Microsoft Academic Search, with a fairly long graph of coauthors stretching from him (the first link is Richard H. King); so he probably has a proper Erdos number (I couldn’t quite find any - all the paths were either clearly wrong or way too dubious - but there’s no reason to believe he doesn’t have one).

January First-of-May — 18 Jan 2013

…Just realized what is the most dubious link in Andrew Shellshear’s Erdos number route: the identity of Andrew (J.) Shellshear himself!

(I kind of thought that Shellshear doesn’t look like a common surname (in fact I checked on online sources and it appears to be ridiculously rare - as in “maybe a dozen families in the whole world” ridiculously rare), and given the subject of his only listed paper the scientist is probably Australian (the webcomic guy is certainly Australian), so the chance that it’s a coincidental match is next to nothing. Maybe not; the webcomic guy did participate in making some complicated puzzles though, so it’s possible that an Erdos number (of sorts) could be established that way. I suppose if needed I could always ask for clarification on the Irregular Webcomic forums :-) )

January First-of-May — 19 Jan 2013

Okay. It probably is a coincidental match; Andrew J. Shellshear is this guy: http://www.patentbuddy.com/Inventor/Shellshear-Andrew-John/11702168 (and I’m reasonably certain it’s not the webcomic guy, even if he’s indeed Australian).

I’ll try to check if the webcomic guy is the Andrew Shellshear of SVG Working Group (http://www.w3.org/TR/SVGTiny12/) - but it appears that I would have to use the puzzles to be certain!

January First-of-May — 20 Jan 2013

Okay… I know it’s confusing.

I found a page on the blog of Andrew Shellshear the webcomic guy where he confirms that he’s the same person as the inventor Andrew John Shellshear (http://otherleg.com/anotherblog/misc-feats/patents); so that’s this particular one done (and we now know his middle name).

He also appears to be the Andrew Shellshear of SVG Working Group as well; there’s no specific citations now, but both work at the exact same company (CiSRA), so it’s unlikely they’re different.

That only leaves, well, the guy I found the Erdos number for (he’s from DSTO Australia). I did, quite accidentally, find yet another page on the webcomic guy’s blog that confirms he used to work for that company (http://otherleg.com/anotherblog/archives/16); this, as well as all the names and initials matching, means it’s probably still the same person as well.

…It might well be that Andrew has a smaller Erdos number (than 7) through his patents or, even more likely, through his work on SVG (which is actually linked to in the Wikipedia article, so you could check it from there). I was unable to find any specific links, however.

Ross Churchley — 20 Jan 2013

Okay, I’ve finally had some time on the weekend to start catching up! First, I’ve improved Brian Cox’, Woody Paul’s, and Colin Firth’s EBS numbers as per Mike Whitaker’s suggestions. Next, I added Simon Singh, Albert Einstein, and Karl Schaffer to the list! Thanks to January First-of-May and Mike Whitaker for finding their numbers.

I’ve actually given Singh and Einstein different Sabbath number derivations than the ones Mike worked out. I got one for Singh beginning with Singh > Katie Melua > Mike Batt, which gives an option of skipping a step if you count “Nine Million Bicycles” as a collaboration between Singh and Batt, who wrote the song. My alternate Einstein path goes through Yo-Yo Ma and is the same length as Mike’s; it was just a bit easier to verify with top-notch sources. I really do like the idea of getting from Einstein to Ozzy through the Muppets, though!

For Karl Schaffer, I’m not entirely sure how dance and choreography fits in to the whole Sabbath number thing. I certainly think that dancers belong on the list – my motives for the EBS project are to celebrate creative academics and academic creatives. But I suspect that dancing collaborations might be a bit controversial, especially for links past the first. (We’d like to include dancers on the list because they are in a musically expressive field, but we don’t want to say that two bands are close together because they happened to hire the same backup dancer for a music video).

To sort this out, I thought it best to put Mike’s Sabbath number for Karl Schaffer up as an “Alternate Sabbath Number” (as it contains a second dancing credit) and work out a music-only Sabbath number for him. After an hour or so of digging, I managed to assign him a 6 through a Zambra singer.

Interestingly, that corner of the music/dance world may well contain a whole bunch of EBS holders. Zambra singer Janet Herman holds a PhD in Folklore/Ethnomusicology. Along with Keith Devlin’s Mathdance involvement, Karl Schaffer has also put on the Daughters of Hypatia: Circles of Mathematical Women dance concert, featuring music by Zambra and Vi Hart and choreography by topological graph theorist sarah-marie belcastro.

Unfortunately, I have to get back to some research-related things, so I’ll have to finish creating pages for the new discoveries later this week. I believe I still need to do David Morgan-Mar and Keith Devlin, double-check the MSAS coauthor path for Condoleeza Rice, and add a bunch of names to the conjectures list, and try to untangle the web of Andrew Shellshear. Am I missing anything on my to-do list?

January First-of-May — 21 Jan 2013

Okay (I think I’m overusing that word as well)… here’s another obscurity for the conjectures list.

Apparently, someone named Greg Friedman from Texas Christian University mentions on his CV (faculty.tcu.edu/gfriedman/CV.pdf) that he has Erdos and Bacon numbers of 3, and also that he used to play as a trombonist on several university bands - so presumably there’s a Sabbath number out there (it might be hard to find it though).

Note for those trying to check: he appears to not be the same person as the musician Greg Friedman who is the first Google hit when searching for that name.

(And for Ross: your to-do list is missing my mention of “Johnny Thompson the magician”. I’m kind of confused on that one myself though… which is to say I have literally no idea who the heck that is, and haven’t yet considered checking Wikipedia :-) )

January First-of-May — 24 Jan 2013

I recently had the bright idea to Google “Erdos Bacon Sabbath” (without quotes, of course); there were several surprises in store.

Of course, most of the resuts are links to your posts, Timeblimp posts, or the Metafilter announcement(s); the QI discussion is also linked to several times, and while I couldn’t find any links to the GTPlanet and Randi discussions they themselves appeared in the results as well.

But there were two articles that were completely independent of these.

In one, a blog post dated January 19 of this year (that is, last Saturday), someone named Richard Brown calculates himself an EBS number of 7+2+4=13 (his post - well his comment to it - said 15, but he miscalculated the Sabbath component due to blindly trusting the Six Degrees calculator - Sim Cain to Henry Rollins to Tony Iommi is only two steps, not four). Link: http://onemorebrown.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/my-erdos-bacon-sabbath-number/

In another… well, it isn’t technically the invention of the Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number, but it’s very possibly the source their inventor was inspired by. A discussion from the distant past of November 2006 (well before any other mention of EBS numbers) manages to mention Erdos numbers, Bacon numbers, and Sabbath numbers (and Erdos-Sabbath numbers) in the same post (Erdos-Bacon numbers were also mentioned elsewhere in the discussion); the rest of it involves musicians who were also scientists (and a few scientists who were also musicians), so it would come as no surprise that there’s a lot of promising names (as well as a lot of names that are now already in the EBS club; the no-chance-of-Bacon-number-because-died-in-1887 chemist-composer Borodin is there as well, as are several people from even earlier). Link: http://www.badscience.net/2006/11/for-those-about-to-rock/

Unrelatedly… my attempts to ask everyone I meet at my (mathematical) university whether they ever performed any music - and do they know of any mathematicians that did - ultimately gave me exactly two names: Aleksandr Shen and Lasse Rempe. I did confirm that both of them actually did music (in university orchestras), but neither appears to have a Bacon number (that I could find anyway), unfortunately. :-(

January First-of-May — 27 Jan 2013

Okay. I was sure there are some Russians in there; so I found one. (Well, currently a conjecture, but it’ll only remain so until reliable Erdos and Sabbath paths are found.)\


He’s sure to have a Sabbath number as a musician (note: Six Degrees of Black Sabbath lists a fake one, so any link would have to come from elsewhere);

he has a Bacon number through his film appearances (note for those searching: his IMDB entry is Sergei Nikitin with an I, all the guys named Sergey Nikitin with an Y appear to be other people);

and with a PhD in physics, he probably had an Erdos number (it was incredibly hard to find his publications because 1) he has such an awfully common surname and 2) his scientific career is usually discussed as background to him being a musician, but I did find a collaboration with D.P.Kharakoz where not only do the initials match but the exact topic he was working on (effects on ultrasound on proteins) also matches - so it’s probably indeed him; unfortunately; Microsoft Academic Search is down right now, so I couldn’t find Kharakoz’s Erdos number).

January First-of-May — 28 Jan 2013

I just realized that in my race to get DMM’s Sabbath number lower I made the later part of the path completely awful. I happened to remember the 9 I used, and given other paths since discussed I could be sure there’s actually a 8 - with much better collaboration level than, er, musical films (I mean, seriously, what I was thinking?)

((everything up to The Ten Tenors same as before - four steps in there))

The Ten Tenors co-wrote the album Here’s To The Heroes with John Barry

John Barry collaborated on A View to a Kill (the song) with Simon Le Bon

Simon Le Bon was in Band Aid with Phil Collins, who, as previously stated, has a Sabbath number of 1

Given the apparent prolificness of both John Barry and Don Black, it might well be that one of them has a Sabbath number of 2; I couldn’t find any working paths though. Alternately, there could be a path from The Ten Tenors that avoids this particular connection entirely (as it’s also fairly shaky); admittedly it’s probably much longer :-)

Ross Churchley — 28 Jan 2013

I won’t be able to put DMM’s page up until I get home (I’m on a research-related trip right now) but I managed to work out an alternate Sabbath path for him. The heavy lifting is really in the work you did to connect him to the Ten Tenors. Their Here’s to the Heroes had Andy Findon on alto flute, as did Paul McCartney’s “Somedays” (from Flaming Pie). Then there’s at most two more steps from Paul to Sabbath in any number of ways — I’ll take suggestions on which one’s the best — for a total Sabbath number of eight.

January First-of-May — 29 Jan 2013

The best way from Paul McCartney to Black Sabbath in this context is of course Paul (Flaming Pie) Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra) Ben Bevan :-)

And why I’m saying it’s the best way? Because it gives an opportunity to skip a step and finally get a total of seven!

Of course, Jeff Lynne wasn’t on the same particular song as Andy Findon - but Andy’s not the only intersection between these two albums; a few others also miss Jeff Lynne, but there’s a working one: Richard Watkins (horn) was both on Here’s Yo The Heroes and the Flaming Pie track “Heaven On A Sunday”, which did actually include Jeff Lynne (as backing vocals and acoustic guitar).

Ross Churchley — 3 Feb 2013

Nice detective work to get the Sabbath number back down to seven! I’m finally back and I’ve added David Morgan-Mar to the official list. His Bacon number went up to 5 (from his claimed 3) to avoid using “archival footage” of Jar-Jar Binks and his own possible unverified appearance in The People vs George Lucas.

David — 5 Feb 2013

Mayim H. Bialik = EBS number of 9 !

Erdos Number 5

Erdos - Graham

MR306101 (46 #5228) 10A40

Erdo”s, P.; Graham, R. L. On sums of Fibonnaci numbers. Fibonacci Quart. 10 (1972), no. 3, 249–254.

Graham - Shing Tung Yau

MR1611732 (99c:15010) 15A18 (60J15 60J20 62D05)

Chung, F. R. K.; Graham, R. L.; Yau, S.-T. On sampling with Markov chains.

Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Random Structures and Algorithms (Atlanta, GA, 1995).

Random Structures Algorithms 9 (1996), no. 1-2, 55–77.

Shing Tung Yau - Paul M Thompson

MR2653701 (2011e:30130) 30L10 (53C44 92C55)

Lui, Lok Ming; Wong, Tsz Wai; Zeng, Wei; Gu, Xianfeng; Thompson, Paul M.; Chan, Tony F.;

Yau, Shing Tung Detection of shape deformities using Yamabe flow and Beltrami coefficients.

Inverse Probl. Imaging 4 (2010), no. 2, 311–333

Paul M Thompson - Eran Zaidel

PMID 16837835

Luders E, Narr KL, Zaidel E, Thompson PM, Toga AW (Jul 2006). “Gender effects on callosal thickness in scaled and unscaled space”.

NeuroReport 17 (11): 1103–6. doi:10.1097/01.wnr.0000227987.77304.cc. .

Eran Zaidel - Mayim H. Bialik

Books.google.com. 2003-07-01. ISBN 9780262240444. Retrieved December 29, 2011.

Commentary 5.1 Sensormotor Integration in Anenesis of the Corpus Callosum

Marco Lacoboni, Mayim H. Bialik, Eran Zaidel

Bacon Number 2

Kevin Bacon - Phil Leeds

He Said, She Said (1991)

Phil Leeds - Mayim Bialik

Beaches (1988)

Sabbath Number 2

Lemmy/Ozzy Osbourne - Slash

March ör Die / Track 5: “I Ain’t No Nice Guy” (Lemmy; featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Slash)

Slash - Michael Jackson

“Dangerous”/ Track 10. “Give In to Me” (featuring Slash)

Michael Jackson - Mayim Bialik

Liberian Girl Video - Shown singing along ….

January First-of-May — 5 Feb 2013

About Mayim Bialik… that’s Sabbath 3 not 2 right? Ozzy to Slash to Jackson to Bialik - I personally see 3 steps here.

Still cool. I believe this is the first time that a new addition to the list used to be an official conjecture :-)

David — 6 Feb 2013

…Sorry yes Sabbath is 3 - Research I can do, but apparently not counting …!

David — 6 Feb 2013

Danica McKeller:

Plays Cello on ‘NO MORE RHYME’ by Debbie Gibson OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO

So Sabbath 5

Oracle of Bacon Says 2

And is documented to have an Erdos number of 4 …?

So EBS 11 ?

Ross Churchley — 8 Feb 2013

Nice work! I’ve added Mayim Bialik to the official list.

After some investigation, I’m not sure whether Danica McKeller’s music video appearance counts as an acting role or as a musical role. Fortunately, I found a shorter, all-music path. Danica McKellar sang in this cheesy musical promo for ABC during her Wonder Years years, as did Doogie Howser star Neil Patrick Harris. NPH and Stephen Colbert were both in a 2011 production of the musical Company, and Colbert has sung with Bonnie Raitt on his show. We’ve already Raitt once before to find Richard Feynman’s EBS number: she and Ozzy both played on a charity version of “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll”. That should give McKellar a Sabbath number of 4… if cheesy musical promos count, anyways. What do you guys think?

January First-of-May — 9 Feb 2013

I assume that, now that you have time again, you’d still want to check the Condoleezza Rice path :-)

Meanwhile, I thought I couldn’t come up with any more realistic EBSers… guess not. These two, though, are really long shots, around Edison level… in the Erdos part anyway (the second one also in Sabbath); one of them is theologian and composer Albert Schweitzer (who appeared in the same-named 1957 film, and thus gains Bacon 3 through Burgess Meredith), and the other is the 1930s comedian and astronomer Will Hay (for Sabbath: he was in the musical comedy film Radio Parade of 1935, which also featured several somewhat more mainstream musicians).

January First-of-May — 9 Feb 2013

(PS: and why does Mayim Bialik’s page say she’s Albert Einstein?)

Ross Churchley — 9 Feb 2013

Whoops, serves me right for trying to do a manual search-and-replace. That should be fixed now.

Ross Churchley — 10 Feb 2013

All right, that was a productive couple days! I verified Condoleeza Rice’s EBS number and added her to the list as well as Danica McKellar.

I’ve also found a few leads for our Conjectures list. The Mythbusters do, in fact, have a paper published, and sang in the “I Love the Whole World” Discovery Channel ad. For a stronger Sabbath link, Adam has also sung with Paul and Storm at w00tstock.

I count Magnus Pyke, Bill Clinton, David Attenborough, Adam Savage, and Jamie Hyneman as people who should have EBS numbers; we just need to find a path to Paul Erdős from their known publications. It also shouldn’t be too hard to assign Jeff Westbrook a Sabbath number.

January First-of-May — 11 Feb 2013

Meanwhile, I have to suggest Raymond Smullyan and Arthur T. Benjamin (guess where I took that from; okay, I already knew about Smullyan, but didn’t know he did music).

And, your Condoleezza Rice entry in the list says her EBS number is 5+3+6=14. As correctly stated in her main entry, it is actually 6+3+4=13. Why the disprepancy?

Ross Churchley — 11 Feb 2013

Whoops! I can’t even figure out where that error come from. I suppose making lots of new pages in parallel isn’t a good idea! Thanks for the proofreading – I’ve fixed the discrepancy now.

Sean — 12 Feb 2013

I’ve been seriously slacking in tracking down EBS paths, so I finally buckled down and… found another path for Kool Moe Dee. (I can’t tell you how pleased I would be to get him officially on the list.) Here’s another path back to Erdos that is less tenuous than my 1st attempt, with the same total length of 8:

Chuck D wrote the foreword to Kool Moe’s book “There’s a God on the Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs”. Both Chuck D and KRS-One were interviewed in the book “Check the Technique” by Brian Coleman (credit is due to Sarah at the qi.com discussion for pointing this out). I haven’t read it, but judging from the Amazon preview, the interviews are so extensive that perhaps this would qualify as a “publication”. (Pretty please?)

KRS-One wrote “KRS-ONE: Ruminations” by KRS-ONE, with a foreword by Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley wrote a book with Cornel West, “The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto”, 2012.

Cornel West has several paths to Paul Erdos, according to MS Academic Search,

the shortest of which are length 3. Here’s one of them:

Cornel West (Harvard University) to William P. Brown

Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism

Cornel West, Bill Brown

Journal: Modern Philology , vol. 90, no. S1, 1993

William P. Brown to Steven N. Evans

Recent legal developments

Chris Barton, David Connolly, Chris Shepherd, Michael Jefferson, Gary Slapper, Frans Van Kraay, William Brown, Dianne E. Gibbons, Steve Evans

Journal: The Law Teacher , vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 76-110, 1993

Steven N. Brown to Tandy Warnow

A comparison of phylogenetic reconstruction methods on an Indo-European dataset

Luay Nakhleh, Tandy Warnow, Don Ringe, Steven N. Evans

Journal: Transactions of The Philological Society , vol. 103, no. 2, pp. 171-192, 2005

Tandy J. Warnow to Paul Erdos

Constructing Big Trees from Short Sequences (Citations: 44)

Péter L. Erdös, Michael A. Steel, László A. Székely, Tandy Warnow

Conference: International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming - ICALP , pp. 827-837, 1997

I know, it’s a stretch. I’m just going to have to track him down and force him to go to grad school…

Sean — 12 Feb 2013

@January First-of-May – I think you’re right about that very old blog post being the inspiration for Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath numbers. I don’t remember the details, but their discussion definitely predates my 1st blog posts (which were in 2007-2008, I think). I probably looked up Sabbath Numbers from hearing about it there, then stumbled across the concept of Erdos-Bacon numbers. Speaking of, I’ve never been able to get the attention of the original Sabbath Number inventor, who appears to have abandoned his site a few years ago. When we produce the Erdos Bacon Sabbath movie, we’ve got to remember to give him some of the profits :)

January First-of-May — 13 Feb 2013

I kind of doubt that this “Péter L. Erdös” fellow is actually Paul Erdos :-) a surprisingly common mistake in MSAS paths. (Laszlo Szekely, in the same paper, has an Erdos number of 1, so Tandy Warnow’s is actually 2.)

Anyway, this path might still be tenuous on the Kool Moe Dee side, but it does (kind of) establish an EBS number for KRS-One - at most 7 on the Erdos side by this path, Bacon 2 through Queen Latifah, and Sabbath at most 2 through Busta Rhymes (so at most 11 total).

As for Kool Moe Dee specifically, as I have already mentioned, he is likely to have an Erdos number (though likely higher than 8) through the significantly less tenuous Clayborne Carson connection (as detailed near the bottom of post #1363).

Sean — 13 Feb 2013

Ah crud… *Peter* Erdos? That’s embarrassing. I hope Kool Moe doesn’t read this post until I can fix it. I swore I had the right Paul in there. Good find on the Kool Moe to Spike Lee path – I missed your mention of it originally (clearly I need to go back and reread this entire thread, and take notes this time), and in my research I thought the Spike Lee connection was a dead end. And getting KRS-One on the board is definitely a welcome consolation prize. We do have to allow book forewords to let him in, but we don’t have to allow the even more tenuous case of interview subjects (like the Coleman book). I’ll try to nail both of these down in the next few days…

Sean — 1 Mar 2013

Okay, I think I’ve got a legitimate path for Kool Moe Dee’s Erdos number. It relies on January First-of-May’s excellent lead focusing on Clayborne Carson, who is actually on MSAS. I’m reasonably sure all of these are real:

-> Clayborne Carson to Richard H. King

Civil Rights and the Idea of Freedom

Clayborne Carson, Richard H. King

American Historical Review vol 98, no 4, 1993

-> Richard H. King to Michael J. Shapiro

Deforming American Political Thought: Ethnicity, Facticity, and Genre Michael J. Shapiro, Richard H King

Journal: Contemporary Political Theory - CONTEMP POLIT THEORY , vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 498-500, 2007

-> Michael J. Shapiro to Christer Jonsson

Cognition and International Negotiation: The Historical Recovery of Discursive Space

G. Matthew Bonham, Christer Jönsson, Stefan Persson, Michael J. Shapiro

Journal: Cooperation and Conflict - COOP CONFL , vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 1-19, 1987

-> Christer Jonsson to Rolf Wahlstrom

Health systems research in Lao PDR: capacity development for getting research into policy and practice

Kristina Jönsson, Göran Tomson, Christer Jönsson, Sengchanh Kounnavong, Rolf Wahlström

Journal: Health Research Policy and Systems - Health Res Policy Sys , vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 11-10, 2007

-> Rolf Wahlstrom to Seyed Mohammad Assadi

Applying a modified Prochaska?s model of readiness to change for general practitioners on depressive disorders in CME programmes: validation of tool

Mandana Shirazi, Seyed Mohammad Assadi, Majid Sadeghi, Ali A. Zeinaloo, Ahmad S. Kashani, Mohammad Arbabi, Farshid Alaedini, Kirsti Lonka, Rolf Wahlstrom

Journal: Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice - J EVAL CLIN PRACT , vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 298-302, 2007

-> Assadi to Christos Pantelis (University of Melbourne)

Dopamine modulates neural networks involved in effort-based decision-making (Citations: 6)

Seyed M. Assadi, Murat Yücel, Christos Pantelis

Journal: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews - NEUROSCI BIOBEHAV REV , vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 383-393, 2009

-> Pantelis to Frank Dudbridge

Genome-wide association study identifies five new schizophrenia loci (Citations: 1)

Stephan Ripke, Alan R Sanders, Kenneth S Kendler, Douglas F Levinson, Pamela Sklar, Peter A Holmans, Dan-Yu Lin, Jubao Duan, Roel A Ophoff, Ole A Andreassen, Edward Scolnick, Sven CichonFrank DudbridgeChristos Pantelis

Journal: Nature Genetics - NAT GENET , vol. 43, no. 10, pp. 969-976, 2011

-> Dudbridge to Ingrid Agartz

Genome-wide association study identifies five new schizophrenia loci

Stephan Ripke, Alan R Sanders, Kenneth S Kendler, Douglas F Levinson, Pamela Sklar, Peter A Holmans, Dan-Yu Lin, Jubao Duan, Roel A Ophoff, Ole A Andreassen, Edward Scolnick, Sven CichonFrank DudbridgeIngrid Agartz

Journal: Nature Genetics - NAT GENET , vol. 43, no. 10, pp. 969-976, 2011

-> Ingrid Agartz to Anders M. Dale (UCSD)

Sex-dependent association of common variants of microcephaly genes with brain structure (Citations: 13)

L. M. Rimol, I. Agartz, S. Djurovic, A. A. Brown, J. C. Roddey, A. K. Kahler, M. Mattingsdal, L. Athanasiu, A. H. Joyner, N. J. Schork, E. Halgren, K. SundetA. M. Dale

Journal: Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences - PNAS , vol. 107, no. 1, pp. 384-388, 2010

-> Anders M. Dale to David Kleinfeld

Applying optical imaging to study neurovascular coupling in cerebral cortex: from populational scale to single-cell single- vessel measurements

Anna Devor, Elizabeth Hillman, Nozomi Nishimura, Istvan Ulbert, Suresh Narayanan, Ivan Teng, Andrew Dunn, David Kleinfeld, Anders Dale

Published in 2006.

-> David Kleinfeld to Jeffrey Squire

Spatio-temporally focused femtosecond laser pulses for anisotropic writing in optically transparent materials (Citations: 3)

Dawn N. Vitek, Erica Block, Yves Bellouard, Daniel E. Adams, Sterling Backus, David Kleinfeld, Charles Durfee, Jeffrey A. Squier

Journal: Journal of Physics D-applied Physics - J PHYS-D-APPL PHYS , 2011

-> Jeffrey Squier to Csaba Toth

Femtosecond optical and x-ray measurement of the semiconductor-to-metal transition in VO2

Andrea Cavalleri, Csaba Toth, C. W. Siders, J. A. Squier, Ferenc Raksi, R. Forget, Jean-Claude Kieffer

Conference: Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference - QELS , 2001

-> Csaba Toth to Janos Pach

A bipartite strengthening of the Crossing Lemma

Jacob Fox, János Pach, Csaba D. Tóth

Journal: Journal of Combinatorial Theory - JCT , vol. 100, no. 1, pp. 23-35, 2010

-> Janos Pach to Paul Erdos

On a metric generalization of ramsey’s theorem (Citations: 5)

P. Erdös, A. Hajnal, J. Pach

Journal: Israel Journal of Mathematics - ISR J MATH , vol. 102, no. 1, pp. 283-295, 1997

That’s, uh… not going to break the record for shortest EBS path. In fact, Kool Moe might set the record for longest. The only link I’m dubious about is whether the “Csaba Toth” who published on lasers is the same who publishes in math. However if it isn’t, I know for certain David Kleinfeld has a checkable Erdos number, through the mathematician Bard Ermentrout. What do you guys think?

January First-of-May — 2 Mar 2013

“That’s, uh… not going to break the record for shortest EBS path. In fact, Kool Moe might set the record for longest.”

Yeah… an Erdos number of sixteen*? Sounds like it would break the record for the longest (reasonable) Erdos path!

(The longest Erdos number path I was aware of up to this point was of length 14. The guy who has it is Jean-Baptiste Dumas, a chemist who died in 1884, and I found out about him in an attempt to find the earliest person with a finite Erdos number; indeed, Dumas, who was born in 1800, is as far as I managed to get, though I still suspect that there are many earlier ones.)

*) Technically, seventeen, by your path, but it includes two identical publications in a row for some reason; Pantelis to Agartz can thus be joined directly.

Coincidentally, I strongly suspect that if you tried to make a link from one of the biologists early on in your path to Lander, Koonin, or some other major biologist with an Erdos number of 2 you could’ve probably shortened the path significantly.

Fun fact: even if your path is used (corrected for the two identical publications), Kool Moe Dee’s EBS number would be only 22 (16+2+4), while Andrew Shellshear - assuming I correctly identified his Erdos number - appears to be in second place with 7+5+7=19; of course, if we ever find an EBS number for Will Hay, it’s likely to be even higher still.

January First-of-May — 2 Mar 2013

Update: yes it worked!

Christos Pantelis to Morten Mattingsdal to Peer Bork to Eugene Koonin appears to be a working path.

This would shorten up the link by two more, making Kool Moe Dee’s EBS number 14+2+4=20… also known as just enough to stay on top of the list until we get something for Will Hay (and very possibly even then).

Sean — 2 Mar 2013

Ha! I had two links made by the same paper, and I didn’t even notice? That’s sadly typical for me (e.g. my “Peter Erdos” link above). Good idea to connect through other well-connected biologists – while it would have been cool (or “kool”) to see Kool Moe set the record for longest Erdos number, in retrospect sixteen seems way too long. You’d probably have to work really hard to get an Erdos number that large, if you wanted to do it intentionally.

I found another path through Eric Lander that shortens Kool Moe’s Erdos number down to 11, if it checks out. You can connect Rolf Wahlstrom to Eric Lander through one coauthor, Claes-Goran Ostenson:

Wahlstrom to Claes-Goran Ostenson

Patient-provider interaction from the perspectives of type 2 diabetes patients in Muscat, Oman: a qualitative study

Nadia Abdulhadi, Mohammed Al Shafaee, Solveig Freudenthal, Claes-Göran Östenson, Rolf Wahlström Journal: BMC Health Services Research - BMC HEALTH SERV RES , vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 162-11, 2007

Claes-Goran Ostenson to Eric S. Lander

Genetic analysis of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus in the GK rat (Citations: 123)

Joakim Galli, Luo-Sheng Li, Anna Glaser, Claes-Göran Östenson, Hong Jiao, Hossein Fakhrai-Rad, Howard J. Jacob, Eric S. Lander, Holger Luthman

Journal: Nature Genetics - NAT GENET , vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 31-37, 1996

I haven’t checked if its the same Rolf W in both papers, but pending that, I think we’ve now got a path of length 11:

Kool Moe Dee -> Chuck D -> Spike Lee -> Clayborne Carson -> Richard H. King -> Michael J. Shapiro -> Christer Jonsson -> Rolf Wahlstrom -> Claes-Goran Ostenson -> Eric S. Lander -> Daniel Kleitman -> Paul Erdos

So he’s down to a total of 17? LOOK OUT HAWKING, KOOL MOE IS COMING FOR YOUR RECORD!!!

Sean — 2 Mar 2013

In looking earlier in the thread for more about Will Hay, I got distracted by mention of the Mythbusters, and decided to try figuring out their Erdos number. Apparently I’m only willing to put in the work to track down Erdos numbers for pop-culture celebrities… I’m not proud of it, but I’m coming to terms with it :)

I think I found a legitimate path starting with their anthropology paper – check this out and see if it passes muster:

-> Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman to Nicole Waguespack

Making a point: wood- versus stone-tipped projectiles

Nicole M. Waguespack1, Todd A. Surovell1, Allen Denoyer1, Alice Dallow3, Adam Savage3, Jamie Hyneman3 and Dan Tapster3

-> Nicole M. Waguespack to Peter Jeffrey Brantingham

Global archaeological evidence for proboscidean overkill (Citations: 55)

Todd Surovell, Nicole Waguespack, P. Jeffrey Brantingham

Journal: Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences - PNAS , vol. 102, no. 17, pp. 6231-6236, 2005

-> Peter Jeffrey Brantingham to Patricia L. Brantingham

Crime Attractors, Generators and Detractors: Land Use and Urban Crime Opportunities

J. Bryan Kinney, Patricia L Brantingham, Kathryn Wuschke, Michael G Kirk, Paul J Brantingham

Journal: Built Environment , vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 62-74, 2008

-> Patricia L. Brantingham to Peter B. Borwein

The social impact in a high-risk community: A cellular automata model

Vahid Dabbaghian, Valerie Spicer, Suraj K. Singh, Peter Borwein, Patricia Brantingham

Journal: Journal of Computational Science , vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 238-246, 2011\


-> Peter B. Borwein to Vilmos Totik

Bivariate segment approximation and free knot splines: Research problems 96-4 (Citations: 3)

P. Borwein, I. Daubechies, V. Totik, G. Nürnberger

Journal: Constructive Approximation - CONSTR APPROX , vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 555-558, 1996

-> Vilmos Totik to Paul Erdos

On the size of products of distances from prescribed points

Paul Erdos, Vilmos Totik

Journal: Mathematical Proceedings of The Cambridge Philosophical Society - MATH PROC CAMBRIDGE PHIL SOC , vol. 120, no. 03, 1996

The only one I’m not sure of is whether that is Peter B. Borwein in that paper with Vilmos Totik. He’s a mathematician (http://www.cecm.sfu.ca/\~pborwein/), so it shouldn’t be hard to find another path if this one doesn’t pan out. Here’s an alternate path to Erdos:

Peter B. Borwein to Tamas Erdelyi

On the zeros of cosine polynomials: solution to a problem of Littlewood

Peter Borwein, Tamás Erdélyi, Ronald Ferguson, Richard Lockhart

Journal: Annals of Mathematics - ANN MATH , vol. 167, no. 3, pp. 1109-1117, 2008

Tamas Erdelyi to Gerald Tenenbaum

The phase retrieval problem for cyclotomic crystals

T. Erdelyi, B. Saari, G. Tenenbaum, Philippe JAMING

Gerald Tenenbaum to Paul Erdos

Ensembles de multiples de suites finies

Paul Erdös, Gerald Tenenbaum

Journal: Discrete Mathematics - DM , vol. 200, no. 1-3, pp. 181-203, 1999

So that’s Erdos = 6 or 7, depending on whether we believe the “P. Borwein” in the paper with Vilmos Totik. LOOK OUT HAWKING, THE MYTHBUSTERS ARE COMING FOR YOUR RECORD!!! UNLESS I SCREWED UP THE ERDOS PATH, ONCE AGAIN!!!

January First-of-May — 3 Mar 2013

Okay. Peter Borwein has Erdos number 2, according to the official site (through neither of your paths, but there are three possible other links).

And assuming it was the same person, it’s Paul Jeffrey Brantingham, not Peter (you appear to have problems with these two names; mind you, I’ve seen MSAS connect two papers that clearly said “Paul” by a researcher it called “Peter”)… but much more importantly, it’s actually not very likely to be the same person! So you screwed up the Erdos path once again; mind you, this particular one would’ve been hard to notice (it’s not like “Brantingham” is a common surname; in fact, it might well be that this is the same person, but I have reasons to doubt it).

Of course, my favorite idea about going through one of the famous biologists helps again. Nicole M. Waguespack to Donald K. Grayson to Judith Field to Simon J. Foote to Eric S. Lander is a working path as far as I could tell, and gives the Mythbusters Erdos numbers of 7.

And as for anyone coming for Hawking’s record, so far there’s only Karl Schaffer to consider (he was calculated to have 3+2+3=8, same as Hawking, but for some reason the Sabbath path wasn’t accepted). Of course, this all could change if Alice Cooper ever gets a coauthored publication - his Bacon and Sabbath numbers are both 1 (I believe the resulting Bacon-Sabbath number of 2 is the lowest of anyone currently alive, but I could be mistaken).

Ross Churchley — 3 Mar 2013

I didn’t reject Schaffer’s shorter Sabbath path; I just missed it. Thanks for pointing that out. I’m busy preparing for a guest lecture next week but I will soon get to working through these last comments!

Sean — 3 Mar 2013

Oh dag nabbit! Apparently, I have the most specific case of dyslexia in history, in which I confuse “Peter” with “Paul”, and nothing else. Fortunately I’m not alone in coping with this syndrome – the developers of MSAS must have the same rare gene I do. So there are *three* Brantinghams publishing together? My gambit of choosing people with unusual, easy-to-verify names has failed me… Possibly it is the same P. J. Brantingham, but I don’t feel inclined to investigate the Curious Case of the Brantingham Family, since you’ve found a working path through Lander. And in the end, we’ve gotten the Mythbusters on the board, which is awesome!

It’s really tempting to contact Alice Cooper, isn’t it? He seems like a guy who’d appreciate this. Could he be persuaded to publish something with a carefully-chosen collaborator with a low Erdos number? LOOK OUT HAWKING, A GUY WEARING TONS OF EYELINER AND A SNAKE FOR A BOA IS COMING FOR YOUR RECORD!!!

Sean — 3 Mar 2013

And belated congratulations on getting Karl Schaffer to tie Hawking for the lead! I didn’t fully appreciate it earlier (in my haste to figure out Kool Moe’s Erdos link) – very cool! Arguably Hawking gets such a low EBS number through sheer fame, as he likely wouldn’t have gotten the Sabbath or Bacon paths otherwise. So in a way, Schaffer’s accomplishment is that much more impressive. LOOK OUT HAWKING, THE– okay, I’m done with this running joke now…

January First-of-May — 3 Mar 2013

The Brantingham is the same person… Paul Jeffrey Brantingham (http://paleo.sscnet.ucla.edu/). I was confused at first because I thought researchers working in completely different fields and from different universities couldn’t be the same person; the “different universities” part was, of course, because I took the other university name from a 15-year-old publication :-)

So presumably that means the Mythbusters have Erdos numbers of 6 (and not 7 as calculated previously; note: the Totik path is fake, but there’s a real one through Andras Kroo).

Sean — 3 Mar 2013

Ah, did I introduce “Peter” by mistake? Looks like it was only in my comments, not in the actual paper citation. But why did he go by “P. Jeffrey”, then “Paul J.”? I’m thinking he’s got a past he’s trying to hide. Maybe we’ve stumbled onto a major cover-up here. And what happened to “Peter”? I think we’ve got some questions we need to ask Patricia Brantingham, IF THAT IS HER REAL NAME!!!

I am seriously abusing the caps lock lately…

Ross Churchley — 3 Mar 2013

I’m looking forward to combing through these comments when I get time next weekend! In the meantime, I’ve got a question for you guys. We just broke 150 comments in this thread. Would you object if we moved to somewhere more organized? I’m thinking of setting up a forum or an issue tracker to make it easier to see the current progress on each individual candidate.

January First-of-May — 3 Mar 2013

I would certainly not object… but I worry what would then happen with old comments :-)

(And what’s an issue tracker?)

Sean — 4 Mar 2013

Absolutely! My vote is that whatever method makes it easier for you to keep track, go for it – forums would be a nice way to group comments by EBS luminary. Last year I was trying to keep track with an excel spreadsheet, but it got too out of hand so I abandoned it. An online forum / issue tracker will keep all the comments in one place, and keeps things more organized than this single comment thread. AND THEN I CAN PUT MORE JOKES IN ALL CAPS LOCK… ahem. Do you have enough time to set it up and maintain it? I would offer to help, but I think its pretty obvious that you’re much more adept at setting up these kinds of webpages. If there’s something I can do that wouldn’t slow you down, let me know.

Speaking of, I think its about time I took down the separate list over at timeblimp.com – I had meant that to be a second copy of the list that echoed the official one here, but the configuration manager side of my brain has been telling me for months that it’s bound to fall out of sync. I’ll keep that site going as a place for the interesting stories about some of the EBS members (and for my scintillating jokes at their expense), but I really should be funneling people over to this official list. As @January First-of-May points out, I’ve got a few extra people on that list – those are the “civilians”, people who aren’t in the public spotlight but who have found their own EBS numbers. Rather than maintain some kind of separate list, I was thinking I’d just have writeups on my site about them, much like I have for the celebrities. Every single person I’ve come across with an EBS number, without exception, is a fascinating individual, so it’s fun to hear their stories – I’d love to be a fly on the wall at an EBS membership party. I’d attend myself, but they’d probably ridicule me for my “Peter” = “Paul” problem…

Sean — 12 Mar 2013

I should probably hold off on this one, but I just can’t resist (sorry Ross, another post to this long long thread) – I poked around for Jeff Baxter, the musician most famously of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, who has given up the doobies for work in defense contracting. He doesn’t show up on MSAS (I think – I’m not trusting myself since my unfortunate problems with the name “Peter”), but his wikipedia page cites a report he co-authors: http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/cac-report.pdf. One of the coauthors, Paul Gilman, is on MSAS (works in energy at Oak Ridge Natl. Labs), and looks like there’s a feasible path back to Erdos. I don’t have it fully worked out, but I was able to get him linked to Sally Ride, then Richard Feynman, so it looks doable. His Sabbath ought to be easy, and he was in Blues Brothers 2000 as himself, according to Oracle of Bacon. I refuse to see the movie myself, as I loved the original and can’t stand to see them tarnish the memory of Belushi…

January First-of-May — 13 Mar 2013

As I mentioned several times already, I thought there’s no more obvious possibilities around for me to suggest. Apparently not; indeed the person I’m talking about now is one I’ve revered for years - but I wasn’t previously aware of his musical accomplishments.

Ray Kurzweil, the famous futurologist, has a Bacon number of 2 (in multiple ways, but all involving documentaries). His Sabbath number is also fairly low: he narrated on the Our Lady Peace album Spiritual Machines, which included Mike Turner on guitar; Mike Turner was in Crash Karma with Edwin, who was in Victor with Alex Lifeson, who was in Rock Aid Armenia with Tony Iommi - making Kurzweil’s Sabbath number at most 4.

Unfortunately, due to various browser problems I have no idea about Kurzweil’s Erdos number. I’m reasonably sure he must have one, however, and thus nominate him here :-)

Sean — 17 Mar 2013

He does pop up on MSAS, and there seems to be a nice clean path to Erdos for him through Wolfgang Biebel, Judea Pearl, and Joel Spencer. I haven’t double-checked the papers, but I’m hopeful those are all real given none of those names are very common. (And nobody’s named Peter!) If it’s real, that would be an Erdos number of 4, which would give him an EBS total of at most 10. Not bad!

January First-of-May — 17 Mar 2013

Most paths with a Joel Spencer in it are likely to be fake. Joel might be an uncommon name, but Spencer is a ridiculously common surname, and a lot of the connections are “J. Spencer”. If in doubt, always check Erdos Number Project :-) (Okay, okay, they don’t have anything past 2009-ish. Still a good idea.)

Never mind though; click at the first “Ray Kurzweil” listed and you’ll see a surprisingly correct path of Kurzweil to Hilary Coller to Eric S. Lander (I won’t list the remaining two steps, they’re far too obvious). So his Erdos number is (at most) 4 anyway.

Sean — 19 Mar 2013

Yep, that looks good! No need to chase down whether “J. Spencer” is Joel or not. And that’s a lesson for me to try out those alternate entries that show up for the same author.

Sean — 19 Mar 2013

At the risk of making this harder on Ross, I’ve got another name to add to the list. A friend of mine, @NotMattBellamy on twitter, suggested Larry Krauss, the famous physicist. (By the way, NotMatt also originally suggested Jeff Baxter also, whose EBS I posted above. So any profits/accolades/candy we get from either Krauss or Baxter, we should share with NotMatt)

So, here’s the scoop on Larry Krauss: he performed with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, narrating a performance of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”. The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, in turn, performed with a drum ensemble called D’Drum, who in turn have collaborated with Stewart Copeland. According to the Black Sabbath game website, Copeland then ought to be traceable to Sabbath via “Sting (Sting, solo) B.J. Cole (Trapeze) Glen Hughes”, for a total Sabbath number of 6. He also apparently was nominated for a Grammy for writing liner notes for an album, though I’m on the fence as to whether that should count…

He currently can only be linked to Bacon through TV shows, and we even have to resort to the Emmys. But Krauss is apparently working on a documentary called “The Unbelievers”, which will co-star Cameron Diaz, Woody Allen, Ricky Gervais, among others. So once its released, he ought to net himself a decent Bacon number.

His Erdos number looks pretty easy, given he’s a prolific publisher in physics. On MSAS there’s a path of length 4 through Brian Charles Chaboyer and Edward J. Rhodes, although I’ve been burned enough by MSAS to know I need to confirm those are the same folks. I’ve learned to distrust any paths that get to Erdos via Ronald Graham, given all the “R. Graham” authors who seem to get attached to Ronald Graham. But I’m hoping, given Krauss’ stature in science, that his Erdos number ought to be the easiest.

Sean — 19 Mar 2013

Another lesson for me – save these comments early and often! I just typed in a long rambling comment about another new possible member of the list, and somehow screwed up posting it, and it didn’t save. So let me be brief, for once: my friend @NotMattBellamy on twitter recommended a new person, the prominent physicist Larry Krauss. (NotMatt was also the one who recommended Jeff Baxter to me, by the way. I had a much witter way of giving NotMatt credit in the original post…)

It looks like Larry Krauss has a plausible EBS number thanks to his performance with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra (who then get back to Sabbath via a group called D’Drum and Stewart Copeland), and to an upcoming documentary he’s working on called “The Unbelievers” (which co-stars several celebs who can net him a Bacon #). His Erdos number ought to be the easiest to compute, and it looks like there are several paths of length 4 on MSAS, though I know better than to claim they’re right until I check every last one of those coauthorships.

I’ll fill in the details that got lost in my fumbled post, and attempt to post it again tomorrow…

January First-of-May — 20 Mar 2013

It looks like there are two paths of length three on MSAS. They both appear to be fake though (one because of wrong Erdos, the other apparently connects two different Grahams).

There is indeed a working path of length four, however; Lawrence M. Krauss to Francesco Iachello to Raphael D. Levine to Peter Salamon to Paul Erdos (it’s the first path in the fourth entry; yes, there’s a Peter in there, but I checked with the Erdos Number Project and Levine is listed).

January First-of-May — 20 Mar 2013

Oh, and if you actually used the “post comment” button but the comment didn’t post, the most likely explanation is that it had too many URLs and went into the moderation queue.

(Alternately, it was way too ridiculously long and didn’t post because of that. I think I’ve heard somewhere that Blogspot has a limit of 4096-ish characters for comment length, and might’ve even been 2048; I know a few comment attempts of mine, on other blogs, has failed that. So possibly this is the reason. I doubt it, though, since your comment on Kool Moe Dee’s Erdos number went through just fine and Word says it had almost five thousand characters…)

Sean — 21 Mar 2013

Oh, that’s right… I remember that wrinkle coming up earlier in this comment thread. Yep, I included a bunch of links, so that do it. I see that my original comment is appearing now. Huh, it wasn’t as funny as I first thought! Well, a spam filter is a necessary evil – I don’t know how it is for you all, but I get NOTHING BUT SPAM over at my page (timeblimp dot com). Either that or I have lots of non-native English speakers who like to give extremely vague compliments (“your post is again excellent, I like to approve much to friends!”).

So in the end, that’s a grand total of 10 for Ray Kurzweil, and 13 for Larry Krauss (once his documentary is released, which looks to be about a week from now). Cool! Uh, I mean, your post is again excellent, I like to approve much to friends!

January First-of-May — 22 Mar 2013

I can certainly say that, while I’m most assuredly a non-native English speaker (my native language is Russian), I’m not the sort of person to give such ridiculously vague compliments (though I tend to reply to these when I see them on my LJ, since it just doesn’t get any other comments; for the record, it’s at january_may).

In fact, if I ever made a comment, I would’ve probably mentioned something actually meaningful and related. Like, I dunno, that the lowest (and very possibly only) known* Erdos-Bacon-Shusaku number belongs to a certain Hungarian mathematician, with an upper bound of 0+5+6=11 :-) He probably lacks a Sabbath number though. (Coincidentally, the only person I could find with a finite Erdos-Sabbath-Shusaku number is a guy named Robert McGuigan; and even then I couldn’t yet find him a proper Sabbath number path (and he probably lacks a Bacon number). Erdos 5 and Shusaku 4 by the way.)

*) In general, there’s really no decent database of Shusaku numbers for people famous in other fields; and it’s significantly harder to research than Sabbath numbers. It’s fairly likely that a lot of people with finite EBS numbers have finite Shusaku numbers as well; but there’s pretty much no way to find out any details other than email them and ask directly :-)

January First-of-May — 22 Mar 2013

Update: I did find a Sabbath number path for Bob McGuigan. Well, I think I did anyway (a few of the links are without any proof, and some might in fact be fake). It’s also ridiculously long :-)

It goes like that: Bob McGuigan (KentMusic 2011) Helen Chesworth (Holyoke Civic Orchestra) Jerry Noble (Bob & Jerry) Bob Sparkman (Joe’s Pier 52) Henry Autrey (Saints & Sinners) Buster Bailey (Red Onion Jazz Babies) Louis Armstrong (Blue Yodel #9) Johnny Cash (Redemption Song) Joe Strummer (The Clash) Terry Chimes… which, if I didn’t miscount, is a 9, and probably shortenable (I mean, seriously, it goes to the 1920s and back) but I’ve no idea how.

Of course, since (to the best of my knowledge) this particular Bob McGuigan never was in any movies, he’s not eligible for EBS :-) He’s certainly eligible for the Timeblimp Polymaths list though (I mean, come on, mathematics, music, translations from Japanese, and go?)

Sean — 24 Mar 2013

Hey, I think I found you over there – I’d be happy to add some actual real comments, although I don’t speak your native language so my comments might not be very relevant to what you posted! :) Spam comments are the universal scourge, aren’t they? And I hope I didn’t give offense by describing my spam commenters as “non-native english speakers” – of course I would love to have an actual real commenter, regardless of how well they write English, if I knew they were real people. They’re just so hilariously un-grammatical and vague that it’s like I’m talking with robots. (Which is exactly what they are, I suppose)

I had never heard of a Shusaku number, embarrassingly enough – very cool! I was vaguely aware of the fascination with “Go” in the mathematical community, but I didn’t know there was another Erdos-esque connectedness game among Go players. Would any of the mathematically-inclined on our EBS list be possible holders of Shusaku numbers? It wouldn’t surprise me if Feynman would make the list. And Bob McGuigan certainly looks like an excellent candidate for my Polymaths list – I’ll have to research him more and see how many envy-inducing accomplishments he has. Looks like quite a lot, judging from the envy I’m feeling now…

Sean — 24 Mar 2013

After spending a frustrating morning with MSAS, I think I’ve nailed down an EBS number for Jeff Baxter. I’m going to post it here, then drive to Redmond and yell at the MSAS team for an hour or two about mistaken identities. UGH!!!

Anyway, I think I found an Erdos path of length 6 for Jeff Baxter:

Jeff Baxter to Dr. Paul Gilman, at Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies:

“Civil Applications Committee (CAC) Blue Ribbon Study: Independent Study Group Final Report.” Mr. Keith Hall, Edward G. Anderson, Jeff Baxter, Thomas W. Conroy, Dr. Paul Gilman (Director, Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies), Patrick M. Hughes, Kemp Lear, Kevin O’Connell, Joseph D. Whitley Esq.

September 2005.

Downloaded from http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/cac-report.pdf

(this is the only paper that doesn’t appear on MSAS, but it’s mentioned at Wikipedia)

Paul Gilman to Steven J. Fernandez (Oak Ridge National Lab)

Actionable Capability for Social and Economic Systems (ACSES)

Steven J Fernandez, Peter K Brecke, Theodore D Carmichael, Christopher N Eichelberger, Auroop R Ganguly, Mirsad Hadzikadic, Yu Jiao, Moutaz J Khouja, Angus L McLean, Erin J Middleton, Olufemi A Omitaomu, Amar Saric, Paul Gilman, others

Published in 2008.\


Steven J. Fernandez to Christopher T. Symons (Oak Ridge Natl Lab)

Construction of Synthetic Populations with Key Attributes: Simulation Set-Up While Accommodating Multiple Approaches within a Flexible Simulation Platform

Steven J. Fernandez, Amy N. Rose, Edward A. Bright, Justin M. Beaver, Christopher T. Symons, Olufemi A. Omitaomu, Cathy Jiao

Conference: IEEE International Conference on Social Computing - SocialCom , pp. 701-706, 2010\


Christopher T. Symons to Michael A. Langston (Univ Tennessee Knoxville)

(multiple collabs between them)

Scalable Parallel Algorithms for FPT Problems (Citations: 30)

Faisal N. Abu-khzam, Michael A. Langston, Pushkar Shanbhag, Christopher T. Symons

Journal: Algorithmica , vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 269-284, 2006\


Michael A. Langston to Vance Faber

Small diameter symmetric networks from linear groups (Citations: 17)

Lowell Campbell, Gunnar E. Carlsson, Michael J. Dinneen, Vance Faber, Michael R. Fellows, Michael A. Langston, James W. Moore, Andrew P. Mullhaupt, Harlan B. Sexton

Journal: IEEE Transactions on Computers - TC , vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 218-220, 1992

Vance Faber to Paul Erdos

Sets of natural numbers of positive density and cylindric set algebras of dimension 2

Paul Erdös, Vance Faber, Jean Larson

Journal: Algebra Universalis - ALGEBRA UNIV , vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 81-92, 1981

For his Bacon number, Jeffrey Baxter is listed at imdb.com as in the cast of Blues Brothers 2000, as himself (in the Louisiana Gator Boys)\


John Goodman was also in Blues Brothers 2000, and was in “Beyond All Boundaries” (2009) with Kevin Bacon as a voice actor. So that gives him a Bacon number of 2.

For his Sabbath number, we go to The Black Sabbath Game website: Baxter was famously a member of the Doobie Brothers during Michael McDonald’s tenure. “Michael McDonald played in the Edgar Winter band, where David Lee Roth once made an appearance. Steve Vai played in David Lee Roth’s solo band, and he also played in Whitesnake. Neil Murray was also in Whitesnake.” And Neil Murray was in Black Sabbath. So I think that’s either 4 or 5, depending on whether David Lee Roth collaborated with the Edgar Winter Band at the same time as McDonald, or at separate times (and so we have to include Winter himself as a link).

I just know there’s some obvious mistake in my Erdos link that I didn’t catch, but you guys will spot in a second. All I ask is that you wait until I’m back from chewing out the MSAS programmers before you point it out… But if these links are correct, that’s an EBS number of 13 (or maybe 12, once I check out the Sabbath links) for the man with the most famous fu-manchu in all of rock music…

January First-of-May — 25 Mar 2013

The Erdos path appears to be absolutely correct. No comment on the Bacon path.

As for Sabbath, Jeff Baxter was in The Louisiana Gator Boys with Steve Winwood, who was in Spencer Davis Group with Eddie Hardin, who recorded Summer Days (on the Purple And Other Colours album) with Ronnie James Dio of Black Sabbath - making Jeff’s Sabbath number 3, and the sum 11… and yes, I found that accidentally (trying to find a working path on Six Degrees of Black Sabbath).

January First-of-May — 28 Mar 2013

There doesn’t seem to be much for me to do as related to EBS (I could’ve worked on Sergey Nikitin, but I’ve left that one for someone else)… so I did another attempt at working out which ridiculously early people have Erdos numbers. (Rather many of them, apparently - I haven’t quite got to Euler yet (and it’s probably impossible), but I did find a person who was born earlier and is more famous. And just so you know… I already sent (a slight variation of) this list to Jerry Grossman - and even received a reply* from him, too!)

I can honestly say now that one of my inspirations in this particular “project” was Famous Trails to Paul Erdos (an 1999 paper linked on Erdos Number Project), which defined “Erdos span” as the earliest known birthdate (well, birth year, technically) for a person with a finite Erdos number; the paper said it’s 1849, continuing on that “[w]e do not know whether [it] can be traced further back into the early 1800s”.

Okay, the early 1800s you say? How about the late 1600s? ;-) Here’s the path I found (without article links as they would be too cumbersome, and I don’t know the last two anyway, but with some other notes):

Peter Collinson (1694-1768)

Benjamin Franklin (you wouldn’t quite deny that he’s even more famous than Euler, would you?)

Antoine Lavoisier (collaborated with the above on a report about Mesmer)

Antoine de Fourcroy (collaborated with the above on the chemical nomenclature)

Louis Vauquelin

Louis Gay-Lussac

Justus von Liebig

Friedrich Woehler

Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville

Eleuthere Mascart

Jules Francois Joubert (not to be confused with his contemporary Jules Francois de Sales Joubert, who is a completely separate person entirely)

Louis Pasteur (yeah, the famous biologist)

Pierre Paul Emile Roux (Roux is the surname, everything else is given names)

Rene Dujarric de la Riviere (Rene is the given name, everything else is the surname)

Luba Podliachouk (at that point I used MSAS)

Jean Dousset

Jean Weissenbach

Eugene Koonin (at this point I just used Erdos Number Project)

Laszlo Szekely

Paul Erdos

…Yeah, that’s a finite Erdos number all right. If all links are correct, it’s a 19 (and unlike many other claims of huge Erdos numbers, will probably stay in double digits for a long time).

I was actually considering starting a small online “project” called Erdos-18 that would attempt to list all people born in the 18th century (well, 1800 or earlier, so both Collinson and Woehler would count) with a finite Erdos number (my original idea, which I haven’t yet fully ditched, was “Erdos number of at most 18” (to correspond with the title), but that would’ve missed Collinson and a few other interesting candidates - until the main path could be shortened anyway). What do you think about this idea, and do you think LiveJournal would be a decent host for it (or would you rather suggest another one)?

*) Well, to be honest, it just was either “Very Interesting” or “It’s very interesting”; I don’t recall which particular one it was at the moment.

Sean — 31 Mar 2013

An Erdos number of NINETEEN?!? That is astounding! And getting Benjamin Franklin’s Erdos number is quite an accomplishment. Going back any further than Collinson would be pretty difficult, I’d venture to guess – at some point do you have to rely on correspondence among scientists, rather than a publication per se? How cool! I’d hope Jerry Grossman would mention something about it at the official Erdos site, but regardless, you should definitely launch your own project – I am not the right person to ask about a suitable web-publishing tool or platform (as any reader of timeblimp.com will attest), but Ross certainly is. I muddle along with wordpress because I’m too ~~lazy~~ busy to learn proper website design, but I’m sure Ross or others who read this would have better recommendations. I’ve never used LiveJournal myself – if you get a decent amount of traffic there, it might be a good platform purely for that reason. Twitter is a good place to get the word out about new ideas, also. And to waste an evening playing a game of “font or cheese?”…

January First-of-May — 1 Apr 2013

I decided at the outset to not even try to count published letters from one scientist to another as coauthored publications. It just makes it too easy (though I might just try to check how far one could get by using these - the 1500s? the 1400s? Francis Bacon is probably just about possible, but the Middle Ages probably not because printing press).

Honestly, Franklin to Collinson is already borderline (the publication is titled “Electrical Experiments, Made in Pursuance of Those by Mr. Canton, Dated Decem. 3, 1753; With Explanations by Mr. Benjamin Franklin, Communicated Mr. Peter Collinson, F. R. S” - you can kind of guess that this is hardly a coauthored publication, but it’s slightly better than correspondence, and I just wanted to grab that 16xx birth date).

Anything from Franklin down is fairly decent, however (assuming you count the “chemical nomenclature” link anyway; the Gay-Lussac to Vauquelin link is also awful, but it’s apparently possible to get around that by going Gay-Lussac to Delambre to Guyton de Morveau through two different reports on various types on heavy crystal glass - Guyton de Morveau was on the “nomenclature” publication, so Franklin’s Erdos number of 18 doesn’t change). Oh, and it’s Jean Dausset with an “a”, apparently.

As for venue - I basically suggested Livejournal because 1) that’s what I’m moderately familiar with, and 2) I know I almost surely won’t have to pay for it (I know most website payment options only involve amounts on the order of several dollars a year, but I simply have next to no idea how to pay online any nonzero amount at all - other than by SMS messages, and I’d rather avoid that one). I know that’s probably a horribly awful idea, but I’m not familiar with the intricacies of American website venues (and I’d rather not use one that would require me to obtain an American-style credit card).

Sean — 3 Apr 2013

I wonder how far back you could go, if you relaxed the rules to allow for letter correspondence… just for fun, could you follow it back even earlier than the invention of the printing press, by following prominent scientists who wrote back and forth to each other? This is way beyond my researching abilities, but I wonder if you could trace academic correspondence backward into the middle ages. Or even earlier, if you can find little enclaves of middle-age scholars like in Ireland… But then I can barely tell the difference between “Peter” and “Paul”, apparently, so I’ll leave this project to others!

You’re probably right to go with familiarity for building a new website – personally, I don’t really enjoy all the HTML stuff in building the website, so I went with something that was “good enough” and required the minimum amount of work to learn. Then I have more time for working on the content of the website. (And even then, I barely manage to update the content more than once a month). I personally do use a paid service, for hosting the web content and for registering the domain names, but as you say it’s easier for me to do that here in the states. But if I were you, I’d probably pick a free service that I knew how to use, so I could get the site up and running quickly and not have to invest a lot of time into website development. And then later, if you find you do enjoy getting more sophisticated with building your site, you can always move it over later. Seeing what a cool site Ross has made for the EBS project has made me think about learning more, but so far I’m still sticking with plain old WordPress. And twitter is surprisingly effective – almost all the traffic I get at my little site either comes from here (Ross’s EBS page), or from friends on twitter. It’s a GIANT addictive time sink, but a great way to meet like-minded people.

January First-of-May — 4 Apr 2013

You motivate me so much I might even end up creating that Twitter account! I wonder if I should make separate ones for the project and my main @january1may* online account, though… (But I’ll certainly try to make separate emails - if only just to have an option of eventually creating yet a third LJ account to use for all the alternate history and numismatic stuff; coincidentally, do you think that new email should be mail.ru or gmail.com?)

And basically yes, I chose LiveJournal because I’m moderately familiar with it, and it would be reasonably easy to set up hyperlinks (honestly, the only thing that I could think of which is easier than LJ would be a wiki - which might be actually better in some regards, but with a wiki there’s the whole vandal problem).

*) not actually my Twitter name, yet, but if I make a Twitter account for online-me it would probably be this; and I’ve already been addressed as such a few times on forums where username restrictions won’t let me use the full “January First-of-May”, such as Coin Community

Thomas — 8 Apr 2013

I very much suspect that Dr Nick Lane at UCL has an EBS number. His Erdos number is at most 5, having done some digging around, and he has a Bacon number of 3 thanks to being involved in the documentary ‘The Secret Life of the Cell’ on BBC 2 with David Tennant.

As for the Sabbath number, he is a pretty good fiddler and plays in a trad Celtic folk band called ‘Probably Not’. Trying to establish musical connections for the other band members is pretty difficult and has thus far eluded me. I reckon it will be large, but should be finite.

So, summary of knowns for Nick Lane:


Nick Lane in ‘Our Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell’ with David Tennant

David Tennant in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ with Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman in ‘Murder in the First’ with Kevin Bacon


Nick Lane and William F. Martin\


William F Martin and Angie S Hinrichs\


Angie S Hinrichs and David Haussler\


David Haussler and Noga Alon\


Noga Alon and Paul Erdos\


Summary - Erdos = 5, Bacon = 3, Sabbath = TBC

Personally, I have an Erdos of 6 and a Sabbath of 2. Just waiting on a Hollywood agent to phone up!

Sean — 12 Apr 2013

@Thomas – cool! I was just checking out Nick Lane’s website (http://www.nick-lane.net/) – he seems to be yet another extremely talented, over-achieving genius of the type I both admire and of whom I’m extremely envious. (I even cleaned up my grammar in that last sentence – I was originally going to write “extremely jealous of”. Discussing all these luminaries prods me into better grammatical practices.) Has his Celtic band ever put out an album? That can sometimes help, as you can then use the liner notes, entries on allmusic.com, and other online music databases to track down any other credits for other band members. There’s also a “6 Degrees of Black Sabbath” online calculator at http://labs.echonest.com/SixDegrees/ created by Paul Lamere at http://musicmachinery.com/about/. I tried linking Black Sabbath to Probably Not directly, but looks like P.N. isn’t in their database. But if other members of the band have worked with any bands that are in that database, it might help you establish the connection.

So all you need to do to get on the EBS list is to star in a movie? That shouldn’t be hard! :) There are more “relaxed” standards that would allow TV show appearances, if you’re able to get on TV…

Sean — 12 Apr 2013

@January First-of-May – I have a blast on twitter, personally – it might not be for everyone, but I find it a great way to connect with like-minded folks. Like with a webpage project, it can take a while to make connections, but after a while it can be really rewarding. I’ve been on there for a couple years, and have honed my smartass skills to unbelievable heights. (And befriended some of the funniest people I’ve ever met). I’ve gotten into the habit of using twitter rather than email, actually, so I don’t have much of a recommendation on which email solution to use. I do the same thing you’re suggesting about having separate emails – I have a “timeblimp”-specific email, though I don’t subdivide any further than that. I’ve toyed with an EBS-devoted twitter account, but so far I’ve just used my own account.

I’ve never done a wiki-style webpage myself, but I suspect you’re right that you may wind up spending a large portion of your time managing vandals. Or the spam – I’m not exaggerating that 99.5% of the comments I get over at my site are spam, so for the most part I’ve simply turned off the commenting. But then again, you’ll want to foster a community and allow discussions among your readers, so you’ll likely not want to be so strict as I am with my site. Maybe the idea of a “forum” would work – Ross is looking into forums for this page, so maybe he’s doing the research for you :)

Let me know when you have your site up, I’d be happy to link to it from my site, and mention you on twitter. I don’t have tons of followers, but the ones I do have would be really interested in this, I’d bet…

January First-of-May — 12 Apr 2013

Thanks for your insight :-) Your post is again excellent (though I don’t actually like to approve much to friends - well, I do, but most of them don’t know much English, so I prefer to approve something that’s in Russian; I did, however, mention the EBS project a lot, but there were no new suggestions).

I highly suspect that on LiveJournal I would also get a bit of spam. If necessary, I probably could just delete it (and/or reply with a snarky comment instead if the spammer posted in the wrong language); by my experience from my previous LJ, around 85% of posts are spam (maybe 96% if we count attempted spam that didn’t get actually visible), which by now means about two or three spam comments per year (plus about a dozen attempted ones).

I have already chosen my theoretical LJ and Twitter names for the project; they’re basically the same (give or take the hyphen/underscore confusion), and both seem to currently still be free (well they were last time I checked). I’m almost sure that the identical email address is free in mail.ru (it’s a fairly weird thing to use as an email address), so I’ll just check if it’s free in gmail.com as well, and if it’s indeed free then I’d rather use that. (If it’s taken on both, I might try to think of a different email and/or a different LJ; a dedicated Twitter will have to go then, since the otherwise obvious choice of @erdos18 is indeed already taken.)

As for EBS… well, I still hope I’ll get to ask Leonid Kaganov about his Erdos number, if any (I know his Sabbath number is in single digits - through a song written for the Na-Na boy band - and his Bacon number shouldn’t be very high, either, since he was a presenter on a TV show for several years; he mainly is, or at least used to be until very recently, a sci-fi writer, which isn’t much help for an Erdos number, but he might have one through his university thesis, and either way he probably knows that one much better than just about anyone else). And Natalya Murashkevich (better known under her maiden name Natasha Guseva, for playing the title character in the Soviet cult film Guest from the Future) probably would have a finite EBS number too if I could just find any musical appearances of her together with someone else (after her single famous film role and a few other obscure ones, she became a biochemist, and as far as I could tell her Erdos number is at most 7). But I can’t think of anyone else so far (certainly not of anyone who has a finite EBS number at least as certainly as Sergei Nikitin).

January First-of-May — 13 Apr 2013

The Six Degrees of Black Sabbath calculator is incredible, but it has its own problems; one of these problems is, yes, its lack of many very real bands (and many of the bands that are in there only have one or two connections which might not even count by usual Sabbath number rules - I myself hit that problem with The Ten Tenors).

Also, they love connecting through stuff that isn’t a music-related connection in any meaningful way (“is a parent of” is a particularly common version).

One hint that by my experience usually helps more often than not: if their direct path to Black Sabbath contains a weird connection and/or is just ridiculously long, try making a path to Ozzy Osbourne or Tony Iommi (using any other reasonably well-connected Black Sabbath member might also work, but honestly I hadn’t tried). It would very often be completely different, and significantly shorter (bonus points if the previous step is already a Black Sabbath member, which actually happened a few times I tried this).

P.S. And as for Nick Lane’s Celtic group… their name is probably well in the running of the least googleable band names ever. I just couldn’t find any other mentions of that band outside the linked site (then again, I didn’t care enough to look beyond the first page or two of Google results, but I doubt that would really be fruitful either).

Sean — 17 Apr 2013

Random question – has anyone already investigated Mike Keith for potential EBS number? I first heard of him as the guy who wrote an entire book in “Pilish” (where each word has the number of letters equal to successive digits in Pi). (I found him because I was looking for swear words in the digits of Pi. Yes, I’m quite immature :) ). He mentions on his webpage that he has an Erdos-Bacon number of 7, so perhaps he’s got a Sabbath number also. He’s got a picture on his website of him juggling, that looks familiar to me, leading me to think someone else already brought him up. Did someone else already find him, and if so, did you have any luck with the Sabbath number?

January First-of-May — 18 Apr 2013

I did consider Mike Keith (I’ve actually been aware of his works since well before Not A Wake was written), but couldn’t find any mention that he ever did any music (as opposed to, er, writing about other people’s music - his “Dictionary of Exotic Rhythms” is actually a lot like your “Unusual Time Signatures”, except more complicated and with some actual math added). And even if he did (it’s a little confusing), he almost certainly didn’t collaborate on any. Coincidentally, I didn’t find any pictures of him juggling, either (I might not have looked much though; he did apparently write an article about juggling, but as far as I could tell it was basically about group theory and had little to do with actual juggling).

Unrelatedly: your new page on EBS numbers is cool, and adding individual pages for particular examples is even cooler. However, I’m a little bit sad about the disappearance of all these derivations that were these originally; do you plan to create some pages for other people on the list?

Sean — 18 Apr 2013

Mike Keith is cool! I’ve been reading more on his page, and I’m just enthralled. He seems like the kind of person who’d appreciate the Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath Project. I was reading his “Dictionary of Exotic Rhythms” the other day, and noticed that he mentions a song I didn’t know about – Dave Brubeck’s “Eleven Four”, written in (what else) 11/4 time. To me, if you’re going to show off by using 11/4 time, don’t make it so obvious by naming the song after it! Here’s the link to where he has a picture of himself juggling, a screen shot from a TV show. For some reason, it looked very familiar to me, but I might be confusing him with a picture of Karl Schaffer. I’ve completely missed many important discussions in this and other comment threads, so I figured that I would check. And yes, I couldn’t find any evidence that he’s got a Sabbath number either. Maybe we could convince him to get one?

Thanks for the kind words on my new version of the EBS page – I’m still messing around with it, so I probably will change it further, but I’m definitely looking for advice. I don’t really want to maintain a separate EBS list than the one here – I much prefer Ross’ version of the full list, so I would rather continue the standard that Ross’ list (and derivations) is the official list, and have mine point to his. I haven’t completely deleted the copy of the derivations I had over there, but I removed the link to the page, because I’m sure they’re not keeping current with the most recent derivations. If there was something on my copy of the derivations you wanted, I can add the link back in somewhere, or point you to the still-existing webpage.

I’d rather continue my page as a series of (hopefully) entertaining essays about the members of the list, so I wasn’t planning on including the detailed derivations for each person over there – I’d rather link over here to Ross’ list, where Ross is putting in a lot of work to record everyone’s contributions and keep them current. I put in derivations for a few people (like Kool Moe Dee) temporarily, but I prefer the way Ross has laid out the derivations, so once he get them up I’ll likely take mine down. I’m also not quite happy with the way I have mine arranged – currently, I’m including a full copy of the entire list, but I’d rather find a way to point to Ross’ most up-to-date copy instead. But then I don’t have a way to link to my essays on each person. So, I’m still debating the best way to design my site…

January First-of-May — 18 Apr 2013

As of right now, it’s your list that is more up to date, as far as completeness goes (the “official” list doesn’t have anything suggested here since mid-February, excepting Karl Schaffer’s smaller Sabbath number which was from an earlier post anyway; and even that was in early March, after which Ross was apparently too busy to look at comments here). To be exact, Ray Kurzweil, Jeff Baxter, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and Lawrence Krauss aren’t in the “official” list yet (I’m excluding Kool Moe Dee because I honestly doubt that Ross would count him in the list either way).

The individual essays, however, are occasionally ridiculously out of date… Brian May’s, for example, says his EBS number is 11 (when it’s actually 9), and Stephen Hawking’s says his is 9 (when it’s actually 8).

And coincidentally, I’ve no idea where you got 14 for Kool Moe Dee’s EBS number (can’t see how it got less than 17).

Anyway, the actual question I asked that you apparently didn’t quite answer… are you planning to put out any more essays? About, for example (though any others would also be interesting), Thomas Edison, Condoleezza Rice, Ray Kurzweil, or Karl Schaffer (not that there’s much to say about Karl Schaffer - even the original Wikipedia mention I noticed him by had since been edited out for inadequate sourcing). I actually quite like your humor, as it happens (for one, you don’t seem to make much random stupid puns*, which is one thing I really hate about American humor); so any more essays would be a really good idea (assuming you find the inspiration to write them, of course).

In other words: your essays are indeed very entertaining (to me anyway); so are you planning to make a few more? :-)

*) okay, whatever you said in the Jeff Baxter essay about “Doobie Brothers” being a completely non-subtle band name might’ve probably counted as a random stupid pun if I had any idea what you meant; fortunately, my English wasn’t quite enough, and for me it was just a non-sequitur

Sean — 19 Apr 2013

Ah, you aren’t familiar with the origin of the name “Doobie Brothers”? Great story! I can see that my joke would be pretty mystifying without familiarity with American slang – their band name is soooo not subtle, it doesn’t come anywhere near counting as a pun. A “Doobie” is slang for a marijuana cigarette (also called a “joint”) – so they’re basically calling themselves the “Marijuana Brothers”. I don’t hear the term “doobie” that much anymore, but back when the band was popular in the 70’s, I’m guessing everyone knew what it meant. Except me – I was just a kid at the time, really liked their music, and had absolutely no idea what the name meant. I can only imagine how my parents must have laughed, when they would hear me say “I like the Doobie Brothers!” It might just be about as un-subtle of a band name that has ever existed. But I still really do like their music.

About my copy of the list, for the time being I’ve got a more up-to-date list, but I absolutely guarantee that I won’t be able to keep it up. The next month or two is going to be really busy for me, so I’m trying to contribute as much as I can now. But I know I won’t be able to keep up with new derivations as well as Ross can. As you’ve found, my essays are riddled with out-of-date information and errors, so I’m going to have enough of a challenge keeping them up to date. (Though I really need to figure out what I did wrong for Kool Moe’s number – I want my favorite old-school rapper to stay on the list so badly!!!) So I’m hoping to weasel out of keeping any official derivations over at timeblimp.com, and instead point over here to Ross’ site. I do want to do more essays on the various members of the list, however – that has been a lot of fun. Karl Schaffer in particular I’d love to learn more about, and to give him some more well-deserved publicity with an essay. I’ve also GOT to find out more about Buzz Aldrin’s rap with Snoop Dog. (Snoop Lion?) I’m sure their collaboration will ((PUN WARNING)) cause any listener ((PUN GETTING CLOSER)) to really ((PUN IMMINENT)) go over the moon! (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Thomas — 23 Apr 2013

A new EBS candidate in Bill Oddie - his Erdos is based on a tenuous link from Simon King to Tim Appleton, but is otherwise sound. The Bacon one definitely counts with only feature films, and the Sabbath is based on a performance/song writing combination, but you can go just one step further by having any of many ISIRTA songs with John Cleese then a Monty Python song to link Oddie to Idle.



Bill Oddie performed “The Ship Put To Sea in The Month Of May (Madrigal for Four Voices and Tim-Brooke-Taylor)” on the BBC Radio 4 programme “I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again”. The song was written by Eric Idle.

Eric Idle performed on a charity version of “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” with Ozzy Osbourne.


Bill Oddie was in “George and the Dragon” with Val Kilmer

Val Kilmer was in “Provinces of Night” with Mark Miller

Mark Miller was in “Death Sentence” with Kevin Bacon


Bill Oddie wrote the Springwatch book with Simon King

Simon King wrote ‘Bird Photographer of the Year 2012’ with Tim Appleton

Tim Appleton wrote ‘The historical and current status of the pink-headed duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea) in Myanmar’ with Saw Moses

Saw Moses wrote ‘The rediscovery of Gurney’s Pitta Pitta gurneyi in Myanmar and an estimate of its population size based on remaining forest cover’ with Peter Leimgruber

Peter Leimgruber wrote ‘A mega-herd of more than 200,000 Mongolian gazelles Procapra gutturosa: a consequence of habitat quality’ with William F. Fagan

William F. Fagan wrote ‘A sampling theory for asymmetric communities’ with Nico Temme

Nico Temme wrote ‘Evanescence in coined quantum walks’ with Bruce Richmond

Bruce Richmond wrote ‘Concerning periodicity in the asymptotic behaviour of partition functions’ with Paul Erdos.

Incidentally, if you count Eric Idle’s song lyrics specifically written for Brian Cox’s recent documentary ‘Wonders of Life’ as a non-fiction co-authorship (I’m fairly sure it does not count), then Eric Idle has an EBS number of 11 (Brian’s Erdos + 1, then Bacon of 2 via John Cleese and Sabbath of 1 as described above).

Thomas — 23 Apr 2013

Following on with a general theme of Cambridge comedians, I give you Mr Stephen Fry.

ERDOS - 10

Stephen Fry wrote the new version of ‘Last Chance To See’ with Mark Carwardine. Henceforth, follow Douglas Adams’ route.


Stephen Fry performed with Hugh Laurie as ‘The Bishop and the Warlock’, as well as many other songs in ‘A Bit of Fry And Laurie’ such as ‘Kickin’ Ass’

Hugh Laurie played piano on the track ‘If I Can’t Have You’ by Meatloaf

Meatloaf performed on the track ‘Kickapoo’ by Tenacious D with Ronnie James Dio of Black Sabbath

Bacon - 2

Stephen Fry was in Alice in Wonderland with Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen was in Frost/Nixon with Kevin Bacon.

There may be a better Erdos for Fry, since he has actually written some non-fiction stuff too.

January First-of-May — 24 Apr 2013

For anything connected to Carwardine, look at my post #78 (it’s between #76 and #72, in that order).

To repeat: that particular collaboration (sub)graph includes, assuming forewords count, also Paul McCartney, David Attenborough, a good part of QI (through Stephen Fry), and about two dozen others (apparently - didn’t quite follow it much this time, but I’d rather believe past-me). McCartney has easy Bacon and Sabbath numbers, and Sir David got these already calculated; so you can at least add these two as well (they’re both only one step away from Mark Carwardine, and for McCartney at least I very much doubt that he ever had any other non-fiction collaborations of any sort, so the Carwardine connection might be the only way to get him in).

These are all, however, about as meaningful (okay, slightly more meaningful for the single-step Carwardine connections) than the recently calculated Erdos number for Kool Moe Dee :-)

January First-of-May — 22 May 2013

Okay. Ross, Sean, I’m sure you’re probably both still around… you just kind of forgot about this whole thing :-) Never mind; because I have one more idea for you to try and catch.

Remember that Condoleezza Rice performed together with Yo-Yo Ma? Well, apparently she wasn’t the only famous politician to do so.

Enter Stephen Harper, the current (as I write this) Prime Minister of Canada.

His Sabbath number is at most 4 because of the Yo-Yo Ma connection.

Since he, as a politician, must’ve appeared in a lot of movies, his Bacon number is also reasonably small (Oracle of Bacon suggests 3).

Finally, as for his Erdos number… well, I’m not sure if that counts as an article, but back in 1996, Harper coauthored an essay called “Our Benign Dictatorship” with Tom Flanagan, a political scientist from the University of Calgary; Flanagan is indeed on MSAS, and an Erdos connection likely could be established (I was unable to find it though when I tried last week, and now I can’t because the only computer at this home that we haven’t broken yet doesn’t have Silverlight).

In other words: I’m reasonably certain that Stephen Harper, the Canadian PM, has a finite EBS number (okay, that essay might be a little far from being a “research publication”, but it’s far closer to it than many of what we had to use for other people).

And I hope this time at least one of you will actually take notice of this as well as the previous comments ;-) (I mean, seriously, there hadn’t been any in four weeks).

Mike Whitaker — 28 May 2013

Catching up after a while - Jeff Baxter’s Sabbath number is 2:\

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4rSmIbJSnA should be all you need :D

January First-of-May — 29 May 2013

Okay, I did that “google for EBS news” thing again.

Didn’t found any news as such, but did find two EBS claims that, to the best of my knowledge, had never been mentioned on this site before.

Claim one. “A mathematician and musician as well as an actor, John [Hryschko] has an Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number of 13.”

This, otherwise unsubstantiated, claim appears on John Hryschko’s IMDB page (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5122082/).

Claim two (possibly a bit more significant)… Geoffrey K. Pullum (a person that I was vaguely aware of though his works at Language Log) apparently calculated his EBS way back in 2011!

“Erdös number: 3 (Pullum-Kornai, Kornai-Tuza, Tuza-Erdös)

Bacon number: 3 (Pullum-Nunberg, Nunberg-Colbert, Colbert-Bacon)

Sabbath number: 4 (Pullum-Sag, Sag-Fritsching, Fritsching-Appice, Appice-Osbourne)

Erdös-Bacon-Sabbath number: 10 (3 + 3 + 4)”

If true, this might be the lowest known EBS number for the period (IIRC, before the huge deluge of new EBS candidates in June-July 2012, only three or four people with finite EBS numbers were known with any degree of official certainty, and all of their numbers were thought to be above 10; this one has to date from November 2011 at the latest). Sounds ridiculously weird though (for one, I was unable to find any mention of the alleged “Fritsching” link).

Oh, almost forgot the URL where I found it: http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/\~gpullum/biodata.html

Now, Ross, happy moderation ;-) I hope this post gets officially, er, posted before July (I won’t dare say it could possibly be before June, but even that is a theoretical possibility).

krollo — 31 May 2013


I have found a somewhat tenuous EBS number for Winston Churchill after a bit if digging around on the Internet.

Churchill wrote the essay “If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg” as part of the wider publication If It Had Happened Otherwise. Theologian Ronald Knox also wrote an essay as part of this work, and he wrote Difficulties: Being a Correspondence About the Catholic Religion with Arnold Lunn, who himself wrote Science and the Supernatural with somewhat famous evolutionist JBS Haldane. According to MathSciNet Haldane has an Erdos number of 5, giving Churchill an Erdos number of 8.

For WC’s Sabbath number:

Churchill was featured in Supertramp’s Fool’s Overture.

Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson toured with Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band.

Ringo Starr performed a few times with this obscure guy called John Lennon.

John Lennon performed with Vinny Appice of Black Sabbath. (http://www.vinnyappice.com/bio/bio.html)

So a Sabbath number of 4, and according to Oracle of Bacon Churchill has a Bacon number of 3, giving him an overall BES of 15 at the very most.

January First-of-May — 31 May 2013

Reminds me of the recent attempts to fit an Erdos number for Kool Moe Dee; and made me try to find any actual coauthored publications by Winston Churchill (or at least properly tell whether any exist).

There’s a confusing one which I hadn’t been able to track down enough to find out what actually happened (might not have been an actual collaboration, as some sources quote it being by the other author only); supposedly there’s an 1958 publication with Harold C. Hand, entitled “Myths Which Hoodwink the Public”. Harold C(urtis) Hand had many other publications, including coauthored ones, and probably has a finite Erdos number (Visual Explorer doesn’t work on my current computer, so I can’t say anything more precise).

Other than that, the only other possibility I could find was the Atlantic Charter - a collaboration (stretching it a bit, but not as much as the essay collection) of Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. Unfortunately, there’s apparently not much in the way of coauthored publications for Franklin Roosevelt either :-(

January First-of-May — 31 May 2013

EDIT: I finally found an image of the first page (in the Harold Hand publication), and there’s no mention of Churchill at all; no idea how he got in the author list (in the rather many sources that do include his name). The hunt for the FDR connection is still ongoing (though it’s probably easier to check in the USA - I couldn’t find a full bibliography of FDR’s works online, but I highly suspect that it’s readily available in any decent US library).

January First-of-May — 10 Jun 2013

Okay. Another one that I’ve known about for ages, but never would’ve thought he’s an EBS candidate.

The sort-of-Egyptologist David Rohl, “notorious” for his version of “new chronology” (not to be confused, Wikipedia helpfully adds, with the slightly more famous but completely different same-named Fomenko proposal), had apparently (according, again, to Wikipedia) “first worked as a rock musician, forming a band in 1968, (Sign of Life, later Ankh)”, a few years later also (again quote) “forming a new group, Mandalaband, which released two albums, Mandalaband (1975 - “an ambitious concept inspired by the Chinese occupation of Tibet”) and The Eye of Wendor (1978)”.

He probably has an Erdos number from his Egyptology-related publications (of which a few were coauthored); and as for the Bacon number, he was in several documentaries (Oracle of Bacon gives him a Bacon number of 3, through Paul McGann (I) and Oliver Platt). So he’s an EBS candidate about as good as they go :-)

Thomas — 14 Jun 2013

This may be one of the least likely people, and I haven’t got numbers yet, but I am sure that you clever lot will be able to help out, because I think it must be a finite number.

The oldest person in history, Jeanne Calment (1875-1997), probably has an EBS number. She is the only person to have been around before the telephone and to have released a rap CD.

Anyway, her CD is called ‘Time’s Mistress’, which she released on her 121st birthday. It features her reminiscing over various rap, hip-hop, and some older styles of music. Since there is instrumentation on it, someone must have performed on it with her, but it is really difficult to locate. I’ll keep looking, but please do too!

As for Erdos, a non-fiction book about her 122 years is credited to her as well as Michel Allard and Jean-Marie Robine, scientists specialising in the study of the elderly. There is definitely an Erdos number - it is just a case of pinning it down.

And, since she met Vincent Van Gogh when she was a little girl, she played herself in a film about him, called ‘Vincent et Moi’ with Nina Petronzio, who was in ‘Scream 2’ with Luke Wilson, who was in ‘My Dog Skip’ with Kevin Bacon, giving her a Bacon number of 3.

Frankly, this woman was amazing.

January First-of-May — 16 Jun 2013

The performer on Jeanne Calment’s CD was Patrick Boisson of Orchestre Guy Icard (http://www.liberation.fr/vous/0101171421-jeanne-la-star-ses-agents-ses-121-ans-le-petit-monde-qui-entoure-la-tres-vieille-dame-se-presse-de-favoriser-ses-talents - the article technically says “Guy Icart”, but that seems to be a typo - see also the photo at http://copainsdavant.com/photo/orchestre-guy-icard-1981-1401372).

Unfortunately, my French is ridiculously awful, so I couldn’t find any connections between Orchestre Guy Icard and the wider musical world (they’re apparently rather obscure). The search continues?

January First-of-May — 16 Jun 2013

Update: it might not exactly be the shortest link, but apparently the Guy Icard orchestra had played with the French singer Mylène Farmer, who did a few duets with Moby; and the latter has a Sabbath number of at most 3, though David Bowie (likely actually 2 or even 1, but with Six Degrees of Black Sabbath broken I don’t really have any decent way to check it).

This means, in the view of the previous post (which as I write this hadn’t yet passed moderation), that the Sabbath number of Jeanne Calment is at most 7:

Jeanne Calment was in Maîtresse du Temps with Patrick Boisson

Patrick Boisson was in Guy Icard Orchestra, which performed with Mylène Farmer on July 23, 2011

Mylène Farmer had performed “Looking for My Name” with Moby

Moby had performed “Heroes” with David Bowie, who has a Sabbath number of 2

Now to search for the Erdos number… which I can’t do yet (as this computer doesn’t have Silverlight, which is needed to use the MSAS Erdos number searcher).

January First-of-May — 16 Jun 2013

And as for David Rohl: this might not be the shortest Sabbath path (as in, it very possibly could be shortened - I just didn’t find how), but it’s a good one nevertheless…

David Rohl was in Mandalaband with Ashley Mulford

Ashley Mulford was in Sad Café with Paul Young

Paul Young was in Mike + The Mechanics with Mike Rutherford

Mike Rutherford was in Genesis with Phil Collins

Phil Collins was in Smoke on the Water with Tony Iommi, of Black Sabbath

…so, by this path, David Rohl’s Sabbath number is (at most) 5. Not too bad for an Egyptologist! :-)

January First-of-May — 21 Jun 2013

Remember the ridiculously huge Sabbath number of Phil Plait? Looks like it might not be actually that large; and there might be several other EBS candidates in the vicinity (half of the names there sound like someone who is probably famous but I’ve no idea for what).

Confused? I’m talking about this little collaboration: http://www.olganunes.com/xkcd :-)

…I’m surprised I’ve never heard of it before, actually; I’ve been a fan of XKCD for years. Coincidentally, is there any way to know whether Randall Munroe has an EBS number? (He seems a likely candidate, between all the XKCD-related publicity and being a former NASA contractor with a physics degree…)

Berry — 21 Jun 2013

Oddly enough, I think I may have found Tim Duncan a number (11.) Duncan co-authored a psychology paper with Mark R. Leary, who has an Erdos number of 4, which give Timmy an Erdos of 5, was in a documentary with Eva Longoria (who has Bacon number of 2) about Tony Parker, which gives a Bacon number of 3, and (most tenuously) kinda, sorta rapped a few words in a commercial with Missy Elliott, who has a Sabbath Number of 2, through a collaboration with Big Boi and Outkast sampling BS on a song, giving him another 3 for a Sabbath Number. 5+3+3=11. This was fun :D

January First-of-May — 24 Jun 2013

What the triangular heck is happening with the main EBS site?

I just went there a few minutes ago, and it’s pretty unreadable (and from what I could read, there were a few additions).

Wild guess: it’s in the middle of a complete restructuring. I don’t really see how it would then work, though.

And update elsewhere: David Bowie, of course, has a Sabbath number of 1 (Freddie Mercury tribute finale, as described in comment #110). So Moby’s Sabbath number is as most 2, and Calment’s at most 6 (assuming all the links are correct, of course).

In other news, we’ve passed 200 comments (though admittedly over 50 of them were mine).

January First-of-May — 24 Jun 2013

Update: I’ve actually missed an obvious Sabbath path shortening for David Rohl, which makes his Sabbath number only three!

David Rohl was in The Eye of Wendor with Eric Stewart

Eric Stewart was in No More Lonely Nights with David Gilmour

David Gilmour was in Rock Aid Armenia with Tony Iommi, of Black Sabbath

…I think I did mention that this is actually quite good for someone working in ancient history.

January First-of-May — 26 Jun 2013

In reply to Ross (because the reply functionality hadn’t been working for me since January):

The whole “site is pretty unreadable” think was partly because of the absence of the EBS holders list (in any reasonable form other than as a seemingly randomly ordered list of “posts”), and partly because of the absence of conjectures (in any way entirely). As far as that goes, it hadn’t been fixed yet ;-)

Other than that, well I’m leaving to a place quite out in the woods (read “without available Intenet access”) around Monday morning (Sunday late evening in your time zone). I might be able to get a last glimpse on what changed as of the day before that, but almost as soon as July starts (or, in your timezone, just before it does) I’m out of the city, and won’t be back until almost two weeks later. Hope I’ll see anything still recognizable by then :-)

Oh, almost forgot: I miss the funny commentary as to what exactly did the person in question do in the three fields being calculated (science, movies, music). Are you planning to put that commentary back, or did you think it’s too cumbersome or somesuch?

January First-of-May — 29 Jun 2013

Hello! Did I mention unreadable? :-)

It might be a very temporary (or very browser-specific) problem, but right now, some pages of both your blog and the EBS site (including main pages of both, and this very page, but as of last time I checked not including the EBS Holders page) render very weirdly.

To be specific, all spaces (or maybe all word endings - I’m not sure) are rendered with a weird additional square (which is probably supposed to be some strange invisible symbol that the browser doesn’t recognize).

Browser: very last version of Google Chrome (27.0.1453 IIRC).

January First-of-May — 30 Jun 2013

It’s now (approximately) 7:15am in my time zone; if my guess is correct, it’s 8:15pm in yours (due to become July in 3 hours and 45 minutes).

There had been no change (visible to me anyway) since the discussion of Jun 26; and I would probably leave my home within a hour of writing this post (and shut down the computer well before that). Sorry :-(

Hope there’s something changed by the time I get back on July 12! Would love to contribute if/when I can (and see the new forum if it’s already up by that date).

Sean — 30 Jun 2013

Hey all, sorry I’ve also gone AWOL for two months– my EBS research has taken a pause thanks to a new baby – timeblimp junior was born a couple months ago, and has barely let me sleep since then. So – should I push him toward getting a Bacon, Erdos, or Sabbath number first?

January First-of-May — 12 Jul 2013

Hello! I’m back, and I see two new pages had been added since then. Expected more, but still, it’s better than zero (not that zero would’ve been realistic).

I didn’t realize about the Matt Cameron connection (in case I didn’t mention it yet, 99% of my path-finding is essentially googling for names that fit - though over time I’ve became a lot more familiar with some of these, even now, with very rare exception, they’re pretty much almost all just names for me; including, yes, even Black Sabbath). That puts Kurzweil out there at the top with Hawking and Schaffer, right? I highly suspect that if he become aware of this circumstance he would’ve tried to somehow push his Erdos number to 3 or 2 (he’s famous enough that I can just about see it working).

As for new conjectures - a few really obscure people I know (a minor medical scientist playing in a similarly band, who claims he did appear in movies - that sort of thing); nothing other though (that I can currently think of anyway).

Ross Churchley — 12 Jul 2013

Yes, I put two new pages up but have been focusing on restoring list functionality and fixing display bugs. Having learned from last time, I’m making my changes on a test server before I go live!

Unfortunately, the job proved longer than I thought — I’ve rewritten quite a bit of code — so I wasn’t able to finish before you got back. I’ve got a bit more cleaning up to do and then I should be ready to push the changes to the main site.

January First-of-May — 15 Jul 2013

Okay. Another unreadability-related problem.

In my browser (essentially same as last time), for some reason text in longer posts now goes almost all the way to the right, covering avatars and timestamps (and essentially making both the covering text and the covered stuff unreadable).

It wasn’t here 12 hours ago, so should be temporary (hopefully). Still rather random.

January First-of-May — 15 Jul 2013

Oh, almost forgot - thanks for the list!

I note that if all settings are set to “stricter”, Kurzweil is the only one with a sum of 8 who is still around. In fact, only Sabbath needs to be set to “stricter” (both of the other two 8 guys have problems with the Sabbath number, and Schaffer’s are so serious that the main list seems to ignore the 3 under any settings - which coincidentally means that no possible setting leaves exactly one 8 that isn’t Kurzweil’s). Does that mean Kurzweil can be considered the new record holder?

(Unrelated fact: I needed to resize the whole thing to 200% - at which point the avatars and timestamps went above the posts - to be able to click on the Reply button)

Ross Churchley — 15 Jul 2013

I’m not seeing those issues in either Safari or Chrome, so I’m guessing those bugs are caching-related – if your browser is loading a cached version of the stylesheet (i.e. an old one) it’s likely that you’d see that kind of behaviour. I suppose I should have changed the expires headers when I knew a major update was going to happen. Emptying your cache should fix everything – if it doesn’t, let me know over email or in a comment to this post (at least until I get a forum up!)

January First-of-May — 9 Aug 2013

The “main” EBS site doesn’t work for some reason. What’s up?

Quoting the message it gives: “Fatal error: Cannot redeclare class acf in /home/rosschur/public_html/wp-content/themes/marginal/external/advanced-custom-fields/acf.php on line 45”.

Sounds like some javascript update that somehow broke your theme (or somesuch - no idea). Either way, it is going to be corrected?

Karl Schaffer — 25 Aug 2013

Someone just sent me to your site, and I had a great laugh, thanks! It did make me feel a bit like Arthur Dent in the Hitchhiker’s Guide (or maybe that other character who was “just zis guy…”) Despite, or maybe because of being “basically a nobody” (ouch! - but then they did even misspell my name in the movie credits!) I have to untoot my own horn by asking why music (Black Sabbath) instead of say sports or politics or even religion (distance to the Pope?) as a third category?

OK, taking this as seriously as possible, here are a few other possible musical connectors: some of the musicians I’ve recently worked closely with in the dance realm and who have composed for my dance concerts are Rick Walker (http://www.looppool.info/index.html) and Victor Spiegel (http://vspiegel.com/), and I’ve worked with lots of dancers here in California (e.g. Tandy Beal) who’ve worked with Bobby McFerrin, though I don’t know how one goes about checking for their links to Sabbath. And if you want a really far out but possible musical connector, in 1978 when I was a student at the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Caroline, I performed in a dance by choreographer Marcus Schulkind with another student at the time,… Madonna Ciccone!

Ross Churchley — 27 Aug 2013

Thanks for the kind words! We’ll have to see what we can do with those new leads.

The primary reason for having academics, cinema, and music as the three components is that the Erdős, Bacon, and Sabbath games all already existed when we came up with the site! The secondary reasons are:

The first and last reasons are why we haven’t added the Shusaku number as a fourth component. The middle reasons are why we haven’t added sport or politics despite some great candidates. (Kiralee Hayashi, math major, actress, stunt double, and Olympic gymnast; Niels Bohr, physicist and professional soccer player; Ken Dryden, lawyer, politician, and six-time Stanley Cup champion). It’s my intention to somehow celebrate these different talents on the site if not by computing collaboration distances.