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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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 ...
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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, Cohen’s Kappa, Fleiss’ Kappa, Krippendorff’s Alpha, or if it is just at the creators choice. ...
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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 ...
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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".
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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Resistor color code

I wonder if anyone would know the origin of the Resistor Color Code.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 (...
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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 ...
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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 $A,B$. (...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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"...
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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 ...
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Where did the naming structure of particles come from (suffix -on)?

I was looking at a list of particles, and I noticed that many of them ended in -on. Proton, electron, neutron, lepton, etc. Is there a historical (or linguistic) reason behind this naming structure?
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When did the idea of naming asteroids after humans come about?

There are some trends to naming celestial objects: Planets and moons in the solar system may be named after ancient Greek and Roman gods Comets may be named after their discoverer Asteroids may be ...