Six degrees of Stuart Schreiber

Finally, another way to inject some Hollywood into science: an adaptation of the ‘six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ game, or if you prefer, just ‘six degrees of separation’ in general. This one references Stuart Schreiber partially because he’s obviously a great scientist in the field of chemical biology, but mostly because the alliteration is nice. If you fall into the California chemical biology contingent, you could play ‘Six degrees of Schultz’; whichever floats your boat.

While knowing how I’m connected to Schreiber (me to Vince Rotello, to Harry Wasserman, to Gayle Schulte (then at Yale), to Schreiber; 4 degrees of separation) and Schultz (me to Scott Singleton, to Peter Dervan, to Schultz; 3 degrees of separation) is fun, the non-specific one seems more pervasive amongst conference attendees or just any scientists who are meeting and finding out, yet again, how small the world of science truly is (as when I randomly discovered my current coworker’s undergraduate TA was one of my good friends in my postdoc lab). Even amongst people you already know, it’s fun to find out how interconnected you are (for example, Nina Goodey, my undergraduate study partner (just moved to Montclair State), connects to me through Steve Benkovic (her postdoc advisor) who was also Singleton’s postdoc advisor; perhaps we should rename the game ‘Six degrees of Scott Singleton’? Also nice alliteration).

Are there any rules that would need to be changed to adapt this game to the wide world of science? Does someone have to work for someone else, or can just being at the same university at the same time (and presumably knowing each other) count? What about collaborating with someone? Can you count the person who hosted your visit to a university, or invited you to give a talk? These last two are certainly less easy to know about or verify, so perhaps a rule would be that there has to be evidence of the connection in the literature? (in which case, perhaps my connection to Schreiber would be more appropriately recapped as JACS 2001, 123, 7626; JOC 1989, 54, 2785; JOC 1992, 57, 2641; JACS 1987, 109, 4718). What do you guys think? And how do you connect?

While you think about that, I’ve got to go see if I can convince someone to make it six degrees warmer in here…

Catherine (associate editor, Nature Chemical Biology)