An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath Numbers: MITers at the Center of the Creative Universe

  • Nancy DuVergne Smith
  • 1

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Physicist Richard Feynman has an impressive EBS number.
Physicist Richard Feynman has an impressive EBS number.

MIT folks love ratings and nerdy stuff, and the website Time Blimp serves up a savory combination of those elements. For example, Time Blimp has developed a ranting for the coolest nerds by identifying people who have been in diverse professional collaborations such acting like a movie, publishing an academic article, and playing some music. The great news is that three MIT alumni have reached this pinnacle.

How does it work:

"In a nutshell, it combines Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (which you’ve probably heard of) with Erdos Numbers (which maybe rings a bell, if you’re a mathematician) and Sabbath Numbers (same deal, with the band Black Sabbath). If you’ve been in a movie you probably have a Bacon Number, if you’ve coauthored a research publication you likely have an Erdos number, and if you’ve gigged as a professional musician you might have a Sabbath Number. If you have all three, you are …on the highly exclusive list of people with an Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number."

MITers who have reach this peak: See the the Erdős Bacon Sabbath Project for the complete list.

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Wed, 01/30/2013 5:54am

I gotta say, I was really hoping to get Richard Feynman to the top of the list. He's close, but he's two off the current leader in the clubhouse, Stephen Hawking. Thanks so much for mentioning my (very nerdy) blog, and do check out Ross Churchley's cool page (the Erdos Bacon Sabbath Project, at, where you can interactively change the stringency of what kind of links are allowed, in case you think we're being too lenient. (You might, as using more stringent rules, you *can* get Dr. Feynman to the very top of the list!)
-- Sean at