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Six Degrees of Paul Erdos
Contrary to popular belief, mathematicians do quite often have fun. Take, for example, the phenomenon of the Erdos number. Paul Erdos (1913–1996), a prominent and productive Hungarian mathematician who traveled the world collaborating with other mathematicians on his research papers. Ultimately, Erdos published about 1,400 papers, by far the most published by any individual mathematician.
About 1970, a group of Erdos's friends and collaborators created the concept of the "Erdos number" to define the "collaborative distance" between Erdos and other mathematicians. Erdos himself was assigned an Erdos number of 0. A mathematician who collaborated directly with Erdos himself on a paper (there are 511 such individuals) has an Erdos number of 1. A mathematician who collaborated with one of those 511 mathematicians would have an Erdos number of 2, and so on — there are several thousand mathematicians with a 2.
From this humble beginning, the mathematical elaboration of the Erdos number quickly became more and more elaborate, involving mean Erdos numbers, finite Erdos numbers, and others. In all, it is believed that about 200,000 mathematicians have an assigned Erdos number now, and 90 percent of the world's active mathematicians have an Erdos number lower than 8. It's somewhat similar to the well-known Hollywood trivia game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. In fact there are some crossovers: Actress-mathematician Danica McKellar, who appeared in TV's The Wonder Years, has an Erdos number of 4 and a Bacon number of 2.
This is all leading up to the fact that Gary Chartrand, author of Dover's Introductory Graph Theory, has an Erdos number of 1 — and is one of many Dover authors who share this honor.
Chartrand’s “Introductory Graph Theory” is an excellent book for a number of reasons. Among others things, it is a book suitable for those going from a recreational level of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by David Milliern
I learned a lot from this text. It's very technical but the practical application chapters brought it all together for me. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Steve Yurkiewicz
I do not understand where all these positive reviews are coming from; this is a very poor book and try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to learn a thing from it. Read morePublished 13 months ago by J. Lacy
I got the Kindle edition of this book. It was nice to use because I could highlight and easily find certain things. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jamie G.
I needed to learn introductory graph theory for a projects. I wanted to learn in fast and by myself. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Navid
I work with bioinformatic systems and wanted a book that would cover graph theory. This book focuses mostly on algorithms and pure mathematics of graph systems, rather than things... Read morePublished 19 months ago by J. Guhlin
I found this book to be well written and very interesting because it presents information coupled with immediate problems and suggested solutions (to selected problems) that prove... Read morePublished 20 months ago by H. M. Lane
A pleasant introduction to the subject, easy to read, covers many topics but won't get into too much depth. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Luke19
This book is an excellent introduction to graph theory. Many examples on how graph theory is used to solve problems in the real world. Read morePublished on April 22, 2012 by Munchy