# Questions tagged [terminology]

For questions about terms, definitions and related concepts used in science and mathematics.

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### When did the error function get its modern definition?

I am currently writing an essay on the error function and after researching its historical origin, I found out who first defined it: J.W.L. Glaisher. But his definition is different from today's form. ...
125 views

### Terminology associated with mathematical induction

In "Number: The Language of Science" (1930), Tobias Dantzig refers to what we call the base case of mathematical induction as "the induction step" (and refers to what we call the ...
• 493
1 vote
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### Katz's symbol 兄 for Gauss-Manin connections

In his famous 1970 paper [1], Nicholas Katz used the character 兄 for the Gauss-Manin connection. I have always been curious about the history behind this symbol. Question: What motivated Katz to use ...
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1 vote
111 views

### The origin and use of the term "equianharmonic" (elliptic function)

In Weierstrass notation, the principal elliptic function $\wp$ is a solution of the differential equation $$(\wp')^2= 4\wp^3 -g_2\wp -g_3.$$ The case when $g_3=0$ is called lemniscatic (it ...
• 49.7k
1 vote
116 views

### Why is 'total angular momentum' denoted by the letter $J$ in quantum mechanics?

In quantum mechanics, we say $J$ ('total angular momentum') = $L$ ('orbital angular momentum') + $S$ ('spin angular momentum'). Apparently $S$ is from 'Spin', but why $J$ for the total angular ...
• 11
1 vote
96 views

### The symbol h for class numbers

We use $h_K$ conventionally to denote the class numbers of number fields $K$. But I have never thought why the letter $h$ was used for it. Why and who used $h$ for the class number?
• 113
151 views

### Weyl's gauge theory and railroad tracks

There is a claim I occasionally read that the origin of the word "gauge" refers to a track gauge used in railroad tracks (the distance between two rails). It's a claim I have seen here, here,...
• 895
1 vote
100 views

### Who coined the term "sulphuretted hydrogen"?

Hydrogen sulfide was previously named "sulphuretted hydrogen" but I can't find the person who named/coined it. Although Carl Wilhelm Scheele is credited to have discovered and isolated the ...
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