Sunday, March 15, 2009

Two Degrees of Relation

Everyone knows the old standby Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Game. If you aren't familiar, go ahead and click the link - we'll wait. Good, now you understand the six degree thingy. What I am about to do is play a short round of Two Degrees of Dan. Here the goal is to get as famous as you can be by no more than two steps from me. I'll add another restriction just to keep the playing field level - I cannot have met the final object of the link myself. (Otherwise there are a lot of famous and semi-famous people I have meet in person and we would be playing One Degree of Dan. {*grin*})

First Round:
I once spend a very pleasant summer on the beaches of San Diego at the Scripps Institute. It was a special seminar on Quantum Chromodynamics that attracted a number of the young researchers in the field, including myself, to sit at the feet of the established gurus. That in and of itself has absolutely nothing to do with this round of two degrees, I just needed to reminisce and brag for a bit. The real key is that my roommate for the time in San Diego was also named Dan and he had a very famous mother. Yes, that's right, my roomie was non other than Daniel Friedan, son of Betty Friedan. You know, the feminist writer, author of "The Feminine Mystique", and primary founder of the National Organization for Women.

What did I learn from the experience? I learned that one might not desire such a famous parent if you were as shy and self-sufficient as he was. Not that Dan was any slouch since he went on to become a MacArthur Fellow (the so called genius award) and co-founded the high-energy theory group at Rutgers.

So for this round we have Dan -> Dan ->Betty for the two degrees of Dan.

Second Round:
During the course of my thesis work, there was one person who I ran into often at conferences and in meetings. He was based at Cal Tech at the time. We spent many a break arguing about parton physics versus constituent interchange physics. Can you guess who this person was and who his very famous sister is? Perhaps a hint - his name is Rick Field. Yes, that's right, his sister is non other than Sally Field, the famous actress. Need more evidence? Click here.

So for this round we have Dan->Rick->Sally for the two degrees of Dan. Note that if we remove the restriction that I can not have met the final link in person, we could pull another chain here since Rick was at Cal Tech to work with Richard Feynman, the Nobel laureate famed in his later years for heading the Challenger explosion investigation. Thus we would then have Dan -> Rick -> Richard or as it would have been put by anyone who spent and time around Feynman, Dan -> Rick -> Dick.

So what can you come up with for the two degrees of you? Remember that you can't have met the final link in person.


  1. I've got absolutely nothing. I need to do some digging.

  2. Like BlueViolet, I got nothing! I'm boring:)

  3. I don't know if this qualifies..but I was flying from San Diego to Norfolk, VA and the lady in the seat next to me and I got chatting. She was a retired school principle. It was in the weeks before the Presidential election so we talked about that and she told me how she'd met George & Laaura Bush and had been to the White House several times and for a long time I thought she met them because of her role as an educator. But as we got talking, she told me she was the Aunt of Condi Rice.
    Second Round: I had a friend in Texas who was a psychologist. His previous practice was in California and he'd had to testify and give depositions on a celebrity patient of his: O. J. Simpson.

  4. Before my dad was my dad lol long story... anyway, he worked for 20th century and worked with Gene Wilder. My dad was a Dan too so that's Kathy -> Dan -> Gene :) How'd I do?

  5. 20th Century Fox* and I even previewed it O.o

  6. very cool! i could probably come up with three degrees, but two is too close. i'm a nobody who knows a bunch of nobodies.

  7. Me _ My Dad _ David Gergen (adviser to presidents including Clinton). My dad served in the Navy with him.

    Me - My Dad _ Ryan Luzinski (son to Greg Luzinski -- former powerhouse hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies. OK -- this is really a stretch but Ryan did live with my parents while playing for a minor league ball team and "The Bull" came to visit his son. My dad was in heaven.)

    This is all I have. What a fun game!


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