Monday, August 12, 2019

Celebrating Paul Erdos

     One of the most interesting and productive mathematicians of all time was Paul Erdos (1913-1996).  He was author of more than 1416 papers, and his name became associated with a labeling process for mathematicians, an idea called the Erdos Number.  A mathematician who co-authored a paper with Erdos could claim Erdos Number 1.  A mathematician who co-authored with a co-author of Erdos had Erdos Number 2.  And so on.  
     Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya (one of the poets at the 2019 Bridges MathArts  Conference) has written a wonderful poem to celebrate Erdos;  I offer below the central stanza of Bonch-Osmolovskaya's poem; the complete poem is available here.

from:   Paul Erdos     by Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya

          he inhaled and exhaled mathematics   
          so people around him exhaled it
          together with him
          it went viral
          five hundred and four of them
          then others together with them
          six thousand five hundred and ninety three
          then others with them
          thirty three thousands six hundreds and five
          then others . . . 
           up to thirteen links in a chain
          in every direction
          until it exhausted the total number
          of those who do mathematics
               .  .  .

Follow these links for morethe complete poem; info about Paul Erdos; info about Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya.

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