The rootless, fruitful life of mathematician Paul Erdős


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I like to think of myself as the Schopenhauer of Sums.


My Erdos number is a paltry 6. But I have a friend who’s number is 2! But for some reason he won’t publish with me unless I do some actual work. Offers of whisky or cash seem to have no effect.


Your hanging out with the wrong crowd.


I only remembered the concept when deciding to come back to the comments here. So i went to MathSciNet and found that my Erdős number is 4, through Béla Bollabás.


He was also remarkable for having an Erdős Number of 0.


I hear that offering amphetamines may work better

After 1971 he also took amphetamines, despite the concern of his friends, one of whom (Ron Graham) bet him $500 that he could not stop taking the drug for a month. Erdős won the bet, but complained that during his abstinence, mathematics had been set back by a month: “Before, when I looked at a piece of blank paper my mind was filled with ideas. Now all I see is a blank piece of paper.” After he won the bet, he promptly resumed his amphetamine use.

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