Questions tagged [naming-conventions]

For questions about the history and/or rationale behind the names of objects or groups of objects.

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How we distinguished charges and named them?

As I searched history of nomenclature of charges I got this.., Ben Franklin imagined electricity as a type of invisible fluid that could build up or be absent from a material, or at least certain ...
154 views

Name of Polaris before it became a pole star?

It seems that all stars as bright or brighter than Polaris have names dating to ancient times, including some stars even dimmer than Polaris. So what was Polaris called, in any language, before it ...
74 views

How did Gaussian and Eisenstein integers get their names?

I can separate this into two questions at some point if necessary, but it's possible that sources for the answer to one will provide the answer to the other at the same time. I learned about ...
155 views

Who was the first to use the phrase “the standard model” of something?

I was doing some reading on stellar structure, and I noticed the phrase "the standard solar model" used to describe the structure of the Sun, and stars in general. It reminded me of the Standard Model ...
113 views

How did the “Wheel of Theodorus” become known as the “Wheel of Einstein”?

I've desperately searched the Internet, to no avail, to find a citation of how the "Wheel of Theodorus" became known as the "Wheel of Einstein" as claimed by Wikipedia and Wolfram.
94 views

How did the Greeks label their axes?

In the current era, we label the Cartesian plane in x and y as our basis vectors, but what did the Greeks use to label their axis? The Greeks were around long before Descartes, so did they even use ...
873 views

Why is the Heaviside step function named after Heaviside?

The Heaviside step function is usually defined as $$\theta(x)=\left\{\begin{array}{ll}0&\text{if }x<0\\\tfrac12&\text{if }x=0\\1&\text{if }x>0.\\\end{array}\right.$$ It is ...
3k views

Why do Maxwell's equations bear his name?

Maxwell's equations in their modern differential form are: $\nabla \cdot \mathbf{E} = \dfrac {\rho} {\varepsilon_0}$ (Gauss's law for electricity) $\nabla \cdot \mathbf{B} = 0$ (Gauss's law for ...
106 views

Origin of O/L for false/true in German computer-science texts

In Konrad Zuse's PlankalkĆ¼l ZIA ID 0020 from 1972, in his patent submission Z23624 "Rechenmaschine" ZIA ID 0177 from 1936 and modern German Wikipedia article on the dyadic system, 2020-01-17 we see L ...
110 views

Do scientists and mathematicians name their discovery or inventions themselves?

We have a lot of things around us, that are named after the principle guys behind it. Is the naming done by the respective person or someone else (like IUPAC for physics)? Example 1: We have Ampere'...
287 views

Binet-Cauchy or Cauchy-Binet?

The Cauchy-Binet formula in linear algebra gives the determinant of a square matrix $AB$ for rectangular matrices $A,B$ of appropriate shape in terms of the determinants of the submatrices of $A,B$. (...
122 views

Why isn't François Proth's name used for Gilbreath's conjecture as he discovered & published a proof 80 years earlier?

According to Wikipedia's Gilbreath's conjecture page, The statement is named after mathematician Norman L. Gilbreath who, in 1958, presented it to the mathematical community after observing the ...
233 views

What defines the 'name' of a score i.e. gamma, kappa etc

I was just wondering if there is a process or set of properties that exist to name a score, such as, Cohenās Kappa, Fleissā Kappa, Krippendorffās Alpha, or if it is just at the creators choice. ...
287 views

Who came up with R for the universal gas constant?

I never did find an answer from professors, or even see an acknowledgement in textbooks, on why capital-letter-r is invariably used to represent the constant 0.08206 L-atm/mol-K seen in chemistry ...
178 views

Why is Robinson arithmetic “Q”?

I see Peano arithmetic so often abbreviated as "P" or "PA". Why is Robinson Arithmetic "Q"? Following the obvious pattern, I would have expected R" or "RA".
125 views

The convention for speakers to refer to themselves at the board with a single initial

I found an interesting question on Math SE asked by @KCd, but it is over four years old without a clear answer. Since it seems to be more on topic here than on Math SE, I thought to post it here in ...
67 views

Is there a name for the idea that the limitations on the accuracy of a model depend on the point of view of the observer?

Consider a mouse who lives its whole life in a maze in a lab. If you asked the mouse about its understanding of the universe, it might say "it's 3 inches high and 3 inches wide, has two left turns and ...
81 views

Big list: things used before they were named [closed]

I would like to compile a big list of things used before they were named, within the last 400 years. For example, logistics was named (according to Merriam-Webster) only in 1861, but has been of ...
1k views

Why is the Digamma function always denoted with the letter “psi”?

My question is on the notation of the Digamma function. The Factorial function $n!$ (which is met in secondary school), is conceptually seminal to the Digamma function. The Factorial function is ...
606 views

When and why did people stopped using “natural philosophy” term and started using “science”?

Previously what is called now "natural sciences" was called "natural philosophy". I'm interested in details, what was so wrong with the name "philosophy" so the name "science" became preferred?
311 views

Indiana Pi Bill: Other attempts to establish mathematical truth by legislative fiat?

Wiki: The Indiana Pi Bill is the popular name for bill #246 of the 1897 sitting of the Indiana General Assembly, one of the most notorious attempts to establish mathematical truth by legislative ...
281 views

When were the abbreviations of chemical elements standardized?

This is going to be tricky because the discovery/synthesis of elements has taken place over centuries. It might be best to restrict this purely to the elements contained on Dmitri Mendeleyev's table, ...
968 views

What famous laws were named by their discoverer

A question posed on academia.SE prompts this follow-up question: Is there an example of a famous physical law, constant, equation, theorem etc that was named after its discoverer by the discoverer ...
1k views

Resistor color code

I wonder if anyone would know the origin of the Resistor Color Code.
208 views

How come so many laws were not discovered by people they are named after?

Background Stigler's Law of Eponymy states that: Mathematical and Scientific laws/discoveries/inventions/&c. are simply not named after their original discoverer. Stigler's "Law" is a perfect ...
1k views

Counterclockwise vs. clockwise

It is common for mathematicians to use counterclockwise (ccw) as positive, and clockwise (cw) as negative. For example, trigonometric functions increase from $0^\circ$ along the positive $x$-axis (...
139 views

Was Riddell's formula really so late?

Riddell's formula for unlabeled graphs is a generating function transformation $$1 + B(x) = \exp \sum_{k=1}^\infty \frac{A(x^k)}{k}$$ which gives the number of graphs whose connected components have a ...
940 views

When are units that are named after persons given their names?

There are many scientific units named after people, of which most were given their names a relatively long time ago (Watt, Newton, Celsius, etc). I wonder if the scientists who "discovered" these ...
70 views

When did the Bayer designation Gamma Sagittarii become Gamma1 & Gamma2 Sagittarii?

Some authors talk about Gamma Sagittarii as a single star, while others use Gamma1 Sgr for W Sgr and Gamma2 Sgr for 10 Sgr (Gamma Sgr being then ambiguous). SIMBAD database uses Gamma1/Gamma2 as of ...
31 views

Before the IAU, what was the international governing body for naming astronomical bodies?

Today, the commonly recognized authority on the naming of astronomical bodies is the International Astronomical Union (IAU). It was created in 1919, and quickly rose to a position of prominence within ...
1k views

Why does the start of the calendar year not correspond to a natural event?

Why is Jan. 1, the start of a new year, several days after the Winter Solstice, instead of coinciding with a solstice or equinox or other natural annual event? Note: The question does not ask why ...
446 views

Why don't we name the Higgs boson a “higgson”?

We have fermions (named after Fermi) and bosons (named after Bose). Why don't we name the particle corresponding to the Higgs field a "higgson"? The superpartner particle (sparticle) of the Higgs ...
320 views

Where did the term “tauon” come from?

The tau particle (so named because it was the third charged lepton, behind the electron and muon) was discovered in the 1970s by Martin Perl and colleagues. In one of the SLAC papers, Perl refers to ...
2k views

How did “royal we” become a standard of scientific writing?

Single authors referring to themselves as "we" is still commonplace today, and already Newton was we-ing in Principia. There is even a Latin term for we-ing, nosism, from "nos", which is Latin for "we"...