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Friday, July 22, 2005

Danica McKellar, Paul Erdös, and a twist ending 

Viva Forteanism! Danica McKellar, most famous as Winnie from The Wonder Years, is more than just a pretty face. It turns out she studied mathematics in university, and even published a pretty serious mathematical paper. I won't examine the details (because I can't), but here's the best question from her Stuff Magazine interview:
After the show, you attended UCLA, became a genius and published a paper on Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin-Teller models on Z2. I really enjoyed the part on infinite occupied clusters.
It’s really complicated and not that interesting to most people.

After chatting with Erick a bit, I suggested that she was probably at a key point in the 2-D hotness/mathematical prowess graph: hotter than anyone more mathematically inclined than her, and more mathematically inclined than anyone hotter than her.

The inevitable questions came up: what's her Erdös Number? It's 4. What's her Bacon Number? It's 2. Is that the lowest combined Erdös-Bacon number? No. That has been presumed to be a prize belonging to Brian Greene, or maybe Bruce Reznick, though if you allow the latter claim, you are doomed to admit the very strong probability that the lowest current Erdös-Bacon sum is 3, and is held by...

Hank Aaron?!?

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