In an earlier post (https://colinmathers.com/2014/01/26/its-a-small-world-erdos-bacon-and-other-numbers/), I described author paths that gave me an Erdös number of 6 and an Einstein number of 7. The other day I came across a comment that Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize Laureate in economics in 1972, has an Erdös number of 3 and remembered that he had published a paper last year with one of my co-authors, Dean Jamison, which would reduce my Erdös number to 5 (the median number for mathematicians). So I looked for the publication path, and first found that Dean and Kenneth Arrow had published several papers over the years.
So much as I would like to think Dean has been working hard on strategies to reduce my Erdös number, in fact it has been at most 5 since 2005. Here is the path:
- Paul Erdös, László Lovász; A Simmons, Ernst G Straus. Dissection graphs of planar point sets. A survey of combinatorial theory (Proc. Internat. Sympos., Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, Colo., 1971), pp. 139–149. North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1973
- Kannan, Ravi; László Lovász, Herbert E Scarf. The shapes of polyhedra. Math. Oper. Res. 1990; 15(2): 364–380.
- Kenneth J Arrow, Samuel Karlin, Herbert Scarf, et al., Studies in the Mathematical Theory of Inventory and Production. Stanford University Press, 1958; MR 27#1361.
- Kenneth J Arrow, Helen Gelband, Dean T Jamison. Making antimalarial agents available in Africa. New England Journal of Medicine. 2005; 353(4): 333-5
- Alan D Lopez, Colin D Mathers, Majid Ezzati, Dean T Jamison, Christopher JL Murray. Global and regional burden of disease and risk factors, 2001: systematic analysis of population health data. The Lancet 2006; 367(9524): 1747-1757
Then I realized that because Ernst G Straus was a co-author of Albert Einstein and has Erdös number 1, the same path reduces my Einstein number from 7 to 6:
- Albert Einstein, Ernst G. Straus. The Influence of the Expansion of Space on the Gravitation Fields Surrounding the Individual Stars. Annals of Mathematics 1946; 47(4): pp 731-741.
While googling Kenneth Arrow to find his Erdös path I also came across an alternate path to Einstein (Kenneth Arrow, Theodore E Harris, Richard Bellman, Ernst G Straus, Albert Einstein) which also gives me an Einstein number of 6. Since Einstein published close to 100 years ago and had few co-authors, that’s quite low. In contrast, Erdös was publishing recently, was the most prolific mathematics paper writers of all time, and had many co-authors.