Social Networks and the Bacon Number

Last week Google started a new search tool to find a celebrity’s Bacon Number.  What is a Bacon Number? It is Google’s version of the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”.  Basically, its the number of steps it takes to link the actor you are interested in with Kevin Bacon by the movies they’ve acted in.

How it Works

Combine an actors name with the phrase “bacon number” and google will calculate the result.  What is the biggest Bacon Number you can find?

The Background

The whole idea is really based on the concept of social networks. The concept is that through our social networks, every individual is probably linked to anybody else in the world by an average of six connections. In 1967 sociologist Stanley Milgram published a study exploring, as he called it, “the Small World” problem. In publishing the study Milgram coined the phrase “Six Degrees of Separation”.

Try to do some research yourself. Others have repeated the Milgram study, you can try to find their results. Look up these search terms in our databases:

  • Stanley Milgram
  • Social Networks
  • Six Degrees of Separation

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