“God has the Big
Book,
the beautiful proofs
of mathematical theorems are listed here.”
 Paul Erdös
photographs taken from the documentary N
is a Number
by George Paul Csicsery ă http://www.ams.org/

A Hungarian
mathematician with no home and no job, Paul Erdös
was the incredibly prolific mathematician of the highest caliber. He, who
died at age 83 in September 1996, wrote hundreds of mathematical research
papers in many different areas, many in collaboration with others. Erdös's motto was not ‘Other cities, other maidens’ but
‘Another roof, another proof.’ He did mathematics in more than 25 different
countries, completing important proofs in remote places and sometimes publishing
them in equally obscure journals.
Concentrating fully on mathematics, Erdös traveled from meeting to meeting, carrying a
halfempty suitcase and staying with mathematicians wherever he went. His
colleagues took care of him, lending him money, feeding him, buying him
clothes and even doing his taxes. In return, he showered them with ideas
and challenges  with problems to be solved and brilliant ways of attacking
them.


Links
A biography by The MacTutor
History of Mathematics Archive.
Michael D. Lemonick’s
article in
Times.
Ivars Peterson's article in MAA Online.
Gina Colata’s obituary of Erdös in The New York Times.
The Erdös Number Project  Jerry Grossman's page
of Erdös, also contains his effort to track all Erdös' collaborators.
Theory
at U of C salutes Paul Erdös  a page
by The Computer Science Department at the University of Chicago.



Erdös had a special
language all his own, which reveals his dry humor towards politics, death and
relationships.
erdösese

english

erdösese

english

erdösese

english

fascist

anyone or anything annoying

noise

classical music

Order Mahler, OM
(named after Mahler, one of the worst bridge player in Manchester)

someone performing very poorly

boss

woman

poison

any alcoholic beverage

Do you exist?

Are you awake?

slave

man

to preach

to give Math lecture

When did you
arrive?

When were you born?

captured

married

to die

to stop doing Math

What was that
when it was alive?

What kind of meat is this?

liberated

divorced

to leave

to die

My brain is open.

I'm ready to do Math.

recaptured

remarried

Sam

U.S.

Your proof is
straight from the Big Book.

Erdös' greatest
compliment for a mathematician

trivial

useless or nasty things

Joe

U.S.S.R



trivial being

nonmathematician

Sam and Joe show

international news



epsilon

child or a little

on the long
wavelength

communist



Erdös number is a way for
Mathematicians to explain their connections to Erdös.
The number starts with Erdös, who is the only
person with Erdös number 0. One has Erdös number 1 if (s)he had
published a paper with Erdös; it is 2 if (s)he had
published with Erdös’ coauthors, and so on. If
there is no chain of coauthorships connecting someone with Erdös, then that person’s Erdös
number is said to be infinite (∞).
data retrieved from AMS’ MathSciNet
as of 31 May 2007
· There are about 2.1 million authored items from
1,800 journals in the
Mathematical Reviews/MathSciNet database, by a
total of about 466,000 different
authors.
· There are nine authors with more than 500 papers:
Paul Erdös with 1585, Drumi Bainov (Erdös number 4) with 837, Saharon
Shelah (1) with 826, Hari
M. Srivastava (2) with 803, Leonard Carlitz (2) with 743, Lucien Godeaux
(Ą, he wrote only one joint paper) with
669, Yuri Alekseevich Mitropolskii
(3) with 608, Frank Harary (1) with 593, and
Richard Bellman (2) with 554.
· There are five people with more than 200 coauthors:
Paul Erdös with 509, Frank Harary (Erdös number 1) with
276, Yuri Alekseevich Mitropolskii
(3) with 265, Hari M. Srivastava
(2) with 265, and Noga Alon
(1) with 260. The other four sociable mathematicians (all have between 155
and 180 coauthors) are: Saharon Shelah (1), Aleksandr Andreevich Samarskii (3), Sergei Petrovich Novikov (3), and Andrei Nikolaevich
Kolmogorov (2).
· There are currently 509 people having written a joint paper with Paul Erdös (who have Erdös number 1) and 6593 people with Erdös
number 2.
· Albert Einstein’s Erdös
number is 2; Claude E. Shannon’s and John Nash’s are 3; both Stephen
Hawking and Bill Gates have Erdös number 4.



My Erdos
Number

photograph from
Acta Arithmetica
81 (1997)

My Erdös number is 3 by virtue of this
chain of publications:
1.
Juraj Bosák, Pául Erdös, Alexander Rosa, Decompositions
of complete graphs into factors with diameter two. Mat. Casopis Sloven. Akad. Vied
21 (1971),
1428.
2.
Dean G. Hoffman, Christopher A. Rodger, Alexander Rosa, Maximal sets of $2$factors and Hamiltonian
cycles. J. Combin. Theory Ser. B 57 (1993), no. 1, 6976.
3.
Mirka Miller, Chris Rodger, Rinovia Simanjuntak,
Distance magic labelings of graphs. Australas. J. Combin.
28 (2003), 305315.


Source:
The Erdös Number Project
Erdös on Graphs: His
Legacy of Unsolved Problems – a book by Fan Chung and
Ron Graham

