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I was searching on MathSciNet recently for a certain paper by two mathematicians. As I often do, I just typed in the names of the two authors, figuring that would give me a short enough list. My strategy was rather dramatically unsuccessful in this case: the two mathematicians I listed have written 80 papers together!

So this motivates my (rather frivolous, to be sure) question: which pair of mathematicians has the most joint papers?

A good meta-question would be: can MathSciNet search for this sort of thing automatically? The best technique I could come up with was to think of one mathematician that was both prolific and collaborative, go to their "profile" page on MathSciNet (a relatively new feature), where their most frequent collaborators are listed, alphabetically, but with the wordle-esque feature that the font size is proportional to the number of joint papers.

Trying this, to my surpise I couldn't beat the 80 joint papers I've already found. Erdos' most frequent collaborator was Sarkozy: 62 papers (and conversely Sarkozy's most frequent collaborator was Erdos). Ronald Graham's most frequent collaborator is Fan Chung: 76 papers (and conversely).

I would also be interested to hear about triples, quadruples and so forth, down to the point where there is no small set of winners.

Addendum: All right, multiple people seem to want to know. The 80 collaboration pair I stumbled upon is Blair Spearman and Kenneth Williams.

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Who are the two mathematicians with 80 joint papers you found? –  Omar Antolín-Camarena Jun 20 '10 at 23:50
@OAC: For some reason I feel like revealing the names may spoil the fun for some. But at the same time I worry that the sentiment of the previous sentence is obnoxious, so I clearly can't win on this one. How about some hints: they are both Canadian algebraic number theorists, one in Prince George, the other in Ottawa. –  Pete L. Clark Jun 20 '10 at 23:57
The borwein brothers? –  Deane Yang Jun 21 '10 at 0:22
Though I don't mind the loss of reputation, I'm not sure why this was made community wiki. This is a question with a unique correct answer... –  Pete L. Clark Jun 21 '10 at 2:33
Rather, it's most likely unique, and if not, at least there are only finitely many ties. :) –  JBorger Jun 21 '10 at 4:49

8 Answers 8

up vote 15 down vote accepted

We get 135 matches for "Author=(Jimbo, Michio and Miwa, Tetsuji)" in mathscinet.

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Impressive! $ $ –  Victor Protsak Jun 21 '10 at 19:12
Indeed. $ $ –  Pete L. Clark Jul 20 '10 at 17:21

This is a frivolous item solely to demonstrate the pitfalls of running MathSciNet searches and working with large datasets:

Type "Wang and Zhang" in the author field and get a list of 2417 items. Li and Wang are close contenders with 2300 total. I wouldn't venture a guess how many collaborations that represents!

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They must get up very early in the morning. –  Gunnar Magnusson Jun 21 '10 at 8:50

Sergio Albeverio and Raphael Hoegh-Krohn have 98 papers together according to MathSciNet.

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I took the liberty to link to the MathSciNet search result. –  José Figueroa-O'Farrill Jun 21 '10 at 1:37
I had not heard of either of these mathematicians until now. (I gather they work primarily on mathematical physics, a subject of which I remain ignorant, if not always blissfully so.) Albeverio has written 696 papers, a figure which boggles my mind. If I wrote one paper a month for 50 years, at the end I would be almost 100 papers short! (I know there are a few mathematicians who have written significantly more papers than this, but this is already mind-boggling enough...) –  Pete L. Clark Jun 21 '10 at 7:49
This may depend on how you count! I an getting 98 joint publications, many with other people: (a) 10 books, including 2 re-editions and 2 translations, as well as 2 preprints published as articles (b) 58 journal articles; (c) 30 proceedings articles. Thus it is at most 92 (still impressive, but one fewer than Hardy and Littlewood). –  Victor Protsak Jun 21 '10 at 8:13
@Pete: Leonard Carlitz's $\textit{Collected works}$ (hah!) is said to contain 6800 pages of research articles, turnbull.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/history/Biographies/Carlitz.html. That is, presumably, in addition to short notes and solutions to Monthly & Math Mag problems that he co-wrote. I should note that the vast majority of his 770 or 771 papers were written individually, although Carlitz and Scoville gives 42 items in MathSciNet(including "problems and solutions" and corrigenda). –  Victor Protsak Jun 21 '10 at 8:28
@Pete: Of course physics papers tend to have more authors than math papers, which means less writing for the average author. And, in certain cases, the director of the lab (the one who got the funding) is listed as author on all papers produced there... –  Gerald Edgar Jun 21 '10 at 12:21
      I.M.Gelfand and M.I.Graev: 119

Disclaimer: For the purposes of this answer, the paper count is the number given by MathSciNet, which includes book translations.

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MathSciNet has separate listings for each edition of a book, and each translation of a book. In this case, if you check Journals, you get 102 listings. Although even this may have separate listings for each translation. –  Gerald Edgar Jun 21 '10 at 12:16
Ok, since you insist: 100 unique journal papers + 2 translations, 3 books + 6 translations, 8 proceedings papers --> 111 total –  Victor Protsak Jun 21 '10 at 19:04

How about Ravi Agarwal and Donal O'Regan with 445 joint journal publications on MathSciNet?

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The citation indices for both authors is dramatic to say the least. (4677 and 3773 respectively.) –  Jim Conant Apr 25 '12 at 11:55
On a second count, there are 473 joint publications (needless to say that I didn't skim through them to check whether some of them were books rather than journal publications): ams.org/mathscinet/search/… . –  Marco Golla Apr 25 '12 at 12:24

Perhaps Hardy and Littlewood?

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They seem like a strong contender, yes. I avoided them above because I was doing a MathSciNet search, for which they are too early. But the foreword to Littlewood's Miscellany, written by Bollabas, claims that they had 100 joint papers. I would like to see an actual list, but I'm upvoting your answer for now. (If this turns out to be the answer, what about mathematicians born after 1900?) –  Pete L. Clark Jun 21 '10 at 0:07
I think that Hardy & Littlewood have at most 93 joint papers (I couldn't get the same count each time I tried in Hardy's Collected Papers), so that seems to rule them out of contention. –  John Stillwell Jun 21 '10 at 6:28
Jahrbuch Database gives 93 papers, the last one being Notes on the theory of series. XX: Generalizations of a theorem of Paley, Quart. J. Math. (Oxford Ser.) 8, 161-171. Published: 1937. I'd say that a series of 20 papers is in a league of its own. –  Victor Protsak Jun 21 '10 at 7:51
Victor, a series of 20 papers is not quite unbeatable. The Robertson-Seymour series on the graph minor theorem is now up to "Graph minors XXIII" (to appear). And this is all around one theorem! –  John Stillwell Jun 21 '10 at 8:28
An honourable mention in this regard should go to Christopher Hooley, with his series of papers "On the Barban-Davenport-Halberstam Theorem". I believe this has now reached installment 17 at least. One might also mention that Hooley is unlikely to be mentioned in the main discussion, being the author of 90ish papers on MathSciNet, all but one of which (an obituary) is single-author. Maybe I'll post this as a question... –  Ben Green Jun 21 '10 at 12:58

E. Cline, B. Parshall, and L. Scott have 28 papers together, spanning 35 years or so. Just one example of a triple...

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see also Giaquinta-Modica-Soucek, the famous Cartesian current triple (26 papers/books) –  Mircea Jun 21 '10 at 10:16

Another thing that is surprisingly rare is a long term collaboration within a single math department. Erwin Lutwak, Gaoyong Zhang, and I, all at NYU-Poly, have a long term relationship that has yielded about jointly authored 21 papers so far, some with an additional author.

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