Erdös number

My PhD advisor at UCLA was Burton Fried, originally a high-energy physicist from the University of Chicago, but when he moved to California after graduation, he switched to plasma physics (specifically fusion physics) and he worked for the TRW corporation, and became a professor at UCLA. At that time, and still, UCLA has a vibrant fusion and space plasma physics program, and he eventually teamed up with George Morales - they were my two advisors.

Although Fried had retired in 1991, about half way through my graduate career, I published one paper with him

Reynolds, M. A., B. D. Fried and G. J. Morales

Velocity-space drag and diffusion in a model, two-dimensional plasma,”

Phys. Plasmas 4, 1286-1296 (1997).

While Fried was at the University of Chicago, the Nobel-prize winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann visited, and they became acquainted. Later, after Fried had switched to plasma physics, they collaborated on a paper with John David Jackson, the author of the well-known graduate textbook "Classical Electrodynamics."

Fried, B.D., M. Gell-Mann, J.D. Jackson and H.W. Wyld

``Longitudinal Plasma Oscillations in an Electric Field''

J. Nucl Energy, Part C: Plasma Phys. 1 190 (1960).

Now the path to Erdös is well-known, as much work has been done for determining the Erdös number of famous people. The first step is a paper Gell-Mann wrote with another Nobel prize winner, Sheldon Glashow.

Glashow,S. L., and M. Gell-Mann

``Gauge theories of vector particles’’

Ann. Physics 15 (1961) 437-460.

Glashow then published a paper with Daniel Kleitman.

Glashow, S. L., and D. J. Kleitman

``Baryon resonances in W3 symmetry''

Phys. Lett. 11 (1964) 84-86.

Kleitman was a mathematician and published several papers with Paul Erdös, one of which is

B. Aronov, P. Erdös, ... D. J. Kleitman, et al.

``Crossing Families''

Combinatorica 14, 127-134 (1994).

My Erdös number is therefore 5.

Bacon number

As an undergraduate student at U.C. Santa Cruz, I was an extra in the concert scene on the Santa Cruz boardwalk in the 1987 film "The Lost Boys." My father was a driver for the Burbank Studios. He had been a driver for various industries for most of his life, but for the final 30 years of his career he was connected to Hollywood. First had been MGM in Culver City, then short stints at other studios, and finally long term at the Burbank Studios in Burbank, CA. He went on location for this movie, and was able to connect me and my then girlfriend (now wife) Kathy with the casting director, and we were extras. While I was on screen, I did not have a speaking role. Kathy was in one shot where the lead actress, played by Jamie Gertz, pushed her aside. Unfortunately, that shot ended up on the cutting room floor.

Jamie Gertz was also in the 1986 film "Quicksilver" with Kevin Bacon.

Therefore, my Bacon number is 2.

Erdös-Bacon number

Adding, gives me an Erdös-Bacon number of 7. While this is low (there are not too many scientists/mathematicians who are also in films), it is not the lowest. That honor goes to Kleitman, who has an Erdös number of 1 and a Bacon number of 2.