Part of the beauty of the world is how much variety there is, even when it comes to triathletes. Even though we all come together as athletes we are also so unique from profession to other hobbies and interests. August 30th I received an email from my adviser stating “Now it is official: your Erdős number is at most 4. Congrats. Add this to your CVs/resumes. It would look good there.” Ok let’s back up a moment….for those who don’t know I am a double Computer Science and Mathematics major finishing up my last semester at California State University of Fresno. In 2014-2015 I did undergraduate research with an adviser and one other student. It was an amazing and rare opportunity to be able to do undergraduate research. We studied a graph based game using graph theory and game theory. Our research was finally published in the International Journal of Combinatorics.
So what in the world is an Erdos number? An Erdős number is the collaborative distance between the mathematician Paul Erdős and another person. It’s measured by authorship of mathematical papers and collaboration. Paul Erdős has an Erdős number of zero, his direct collaborators have an Erdős number of one, and their direct collaborators have an Erdős number of two and so on. But why Paul Erdős? Well he’s a famous mathematician who has published over 1,500 papers from 1913-1996 in many fields and traveled all over Hungary collaborating with other mathematicians.
This somewhat amusing system of keeping track of your distance has been adapted by other fields as well. The most well know is the “six degrees of Kevin Bacon”. Then there are combinations of these! Your Erdős-Bacon number is your Erdős number plus your Bacon number. Ok I was curious….I reached out to the two directors who I have been in films with and they both have Bacon numbers of 2, which makes mine 3. Thus my Erdős-Bacon number is 7. the lowest known Erdős-Bacon number is 6! Part of this is amusing but it’s actually a pretty big deal in the math world and is expected to be in their version of a resume.
What is an interest that your fellow athletes may not know about you? Does it just not come up or do you not share it with the athletes in your life?