2
$\begingroup$

It seems that almost every where that physics is taught, in particular teaching relativity or quantum phenomena, that examples or demonstrations using persons Bob and Alice is a common tradition. Professor Susskind uses Bob and Alice quite a bit in his ER=EPR lectures. Several text books I have on relativity, both special and general, use Bob and Alice in various diagrams usually highlighting their respective world lines.

I am curious. Who started this, is there a first example using Bob and Alice?

$\endgroup$
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_and_Bob $\endgroup$ – Francois Ziegler Sep 24 '17 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Alice and Bob seem to appear before RSA, but then they're sort of a natural choice. They always remind me of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a scandalous event of my childhood and later a tv show. The players Alice, Bob and Carol appear in Educational Technology in 1966. $\endgroup$ – Michael E2 Sep 24 '17 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelE2 and once upon a time in Beantown, we had a defensive corps of " Bob and Carol and Ted and Dallas" :-) . $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Sep 25 '17 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ Francois -- the link you posted explains all. I searched SE but did not find anything and I totally forgot to search the rest of the Internet which usually includes searches on Wikipedia that I do first. I gave you an up-point. If you posted the link as an answer, I would have accepted it. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Sep 25 '17 at 15:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In normal scientific writing one would use points (or observers) A and B (first letters of Latin alphabet). Who invented Bob and Alice instead, I am not sure but this could be M. Gardner "Relativity simply explained" (1962). Wikipedia article is strongly biased towards computer science, but it is clear that the first use was in popular books on physics. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Sep 26 '17 at 21:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.