Questions tagged [terminology]

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

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What is the earliest use of the $\perp\!\!\!\!\perp$ symbol in statistics to denote statistical independence?

The symbol $\perp\!\!\!\!\perp$ in statistics is a way to denote statistical independence of a collection of random variables. I have seen two forms of it. The first is highly suitable in writing ...
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First example of regularization

Background: I like to think of L'Hospital as one of the earliest authors of least-squares regression. L'Hospital, G. (1696). L'analyse des infiniment petits pour l'intelligence des lignes courbes. I'm ...
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Formal logic as a synonym to syllogistic logic, or as a name for the study of logic?

On page 443, section 1.1 Expanding to Contradiction, in José Ferreirós' A Road To Modern Logic - An Interpretation, the following is written: Philosophical conceptions of logic have been complex and ...
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Context of the discovery of ultraproducts

Łoś's theorem is a fundamental theorem in model theory (a branch of mathematical logic). Historical question: What was Łoś's original motivation to define ultraproducts and prove Łoś's theorem? Which ...
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Who, between Cayley and Hamilton, first worked on the theorem that bears their name?

I know that Frobenius is the one who proved the Cayley-Hamilton theorem in all its generality. However, between Cayley and Hamilton, who did first work on the subject? In English: Cayley–Hamilton ...
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What or who is Peloritan in the name "Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti"?

The University of Messina has a scientific organization and publication "Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti", see 1. What is the origin and meaning of the word "peloritana"?
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The term "constant" in "integration by parts" ("partielle Integration")

In Riemann's "Ueber die Darstellbarkeit einer Function durch eine trigonometrische Reihe", Riemann mentions taking a factor as "constant" in "partial integration", which ...
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Early uses of the word "operator" in mathematics

I'm looking for early uses of the word "operator" in mathematics and how it evolved to become a synonym for the modern "function" in certain areas. Jeff Miller's page only has an ...
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Why some calculations noted as "sym^2" and "sym", while others noted as "symA" and "symB", where "symB" is the square root of "symA"?

Today I learnt that the standard deviation is calculated as square root of the mean of the squares of the deviations from the arithmetic mean of the distribution. The mean of the squares of the ...
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Classification of "Epitaph of Diophantus" problem

The well-known riddle of the Epitaph of Diophantus, attributed to Metrodorus, is one of the style of simple problem in algebra whose pattern when expressed in contemporary algebraic notation is: $$x = ...
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Is it known who coined the term Episteme?

I thought that such old terms wouldnt be known who "created" them, but terms of the same time like Natural Philosophy and Philosophy are said to be created by Aristotle, and believed to be ...
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Terms for different types of clouds before 1770?

Using Google Books I couldn't find any reference to cumulus clouds before 1772. What terms were used for the different types of clouds before 1772, if there were specific terms?
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Theorem or equation self-named after the same person that published it? [duplicate]

In the history of science, has there ever been a theorem/equation/law that is named after a person and has been coined that name by the same person? Example: let's say somebody named Trevor discovers ...
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How has $\tan(x)$ become more popular than $\operatorname{tg}(x)$?

I know that some Eastern European and Middle Asian countries denote the tangent by $\operatorname{tg}$. For many years, I have used $\tan$ instead, but am currently thinking of changing that notation ...
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What was the Big Bang model originally called?

The name "Big Bang theory" was coined by Sir Fred Hoyle. What did scientists originally call the Big Bang model?
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Why is it called a group action?

A group action has two laws which roughly correspond to associativity and identity $ \phi : (G : \textrm{Group}) \times (S : \textrm{Set}) \rightarrow S \\ \forall a, b : G . \forall c : S. \phi(a,\...
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Hamiltonian $H$ named after Huygens?

This seems an unlikely origin of the abbreviation $H$ for Hamiltonian. Is there evidence for this nomenclature?
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What is the origin of "root" as a solution to an equation?

I was curious to know more on the history of the term "root", in the sense of "a value that results in a true statement, when substituted into an equation" (e.g., the roots of $2x^...
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Why two words "summation" and "addition" do exist in literature?

We all come across these two words in literature: summation, addition. I personally do not know any difference between them and I view both of them the same in all mathematical aspects. Is there any ...
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What is the "Pix Hispana" that Niccolo Cabeus refers to?

In Niccolo Cabeo's 1629 work Philosophia Magnetica, in which he picks up on Gilbert's early electrical work in book 2, he lists a number of materials that can be electrified (book II. ch. XVII., p. ...
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Was a mathematical connection involved when introducing "graph" of a function and "graph" in graph theory?

A colleague and I were having a discussion about mathematical similarities between graphs of functions and graphs as used in graph theory: Simple graphs can be defined in terms of pair (of vertices), ...
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When was mercury given its name?

The Wikipedia page for mercury says that it was named after the Roman god because of his speed and mobility. When did the name mercury start to be used to designate the metal?
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On the origin of "sandwiches" in quantum mechanics

The term "sandwich" and the verb "to sandwich" appear pretty common but informally in quantum mechanics. Generally when describing some kind of inner product of the form: $$\langle ...
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Why is the number of elements in a group called "order"?

This is a question that I have for a long time, Maybe it is something silly, but I really want to know. Why is the number of elements in a group called "order"? I mean, the word "order&...
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Emmy Noether or Emmy Nöther?

Is it OK to write Emmy Nöther instead of Emmy Noether? I always assumed that the oe was an anglicization of ö (o with an umlaut). But when I look her up, I never see Nöther.
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2 answers
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Origin of the term "field" (in "vector field")

I am reposting a thread from "physics stack exchange" : I was wondering - Why do we use the word "field" to describe a vector field? i.e., a field is "an expanse of open or ...
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History of PSL(2,Z)

I want to know the mathematician who named PSL(2,Z) as the modular group first. Also, I would be pleased if someone suggest to me some papers about the history of the modular group. Thanks a lot in ...
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Definition of ordinal multiplication

The ordinal multiplication $\cdot$ can be defined recursively via ordinal addition $+$ for any ordinal $\alpha$ as follows: $\alpha\cdot 0=0$. $\alpha\cdot (\beta+1)=\alpha\cdot \beta+\alpha$ for any ...
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First use of term "Hilbert's Nullstellensatz"

This year (2021) marks the 100th anniversary of Emmy Noether's 1921 paper in which she introduced Noetherian rings and proved the primary ideal decomposition for them. The original version of her ...
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Who coined the term: "Directed Graph"?

I found that the term "Digraph" was coined in 1955 by Frank Harary in "The number of linear, directed, rooted, and connected graphs", and that it was a term actually suggested by ...
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How long have people been debunking the P value (statistical significance) as commonly used in the human sciences: medicine, psychology and so on?

I have been puzzled for a long time at the way psychologists and medical researchers state that they have 'significant' results, and at the way this statement is relayed to the public who are misled ...
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Why did Galileo pick "temperatura" to signify 'degree of heat or cold'?

Etymonline avouches that Sense of "degree of heat or cold" first recorded 1670 (Boyle), from Latin temperatura, used in this sense by Galileo. But "degree of heat or cold" doesn'...
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1 answer
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What is the history of the use of the word daughter for a decay product in nuclear physics?

I was browsing the book Isotopes: Principles and Applications by Faure and Mensing and I would like to know what is the history of the use of the word daughter for a decay product. It seems to me that ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How did "fisike" shift from meaning "natural science" to "medicine"?

What's the antecedent of "its meaning"? I'm guessing fisike. Can you please expound on this shift that I embolded? The author didn't. physics [16] Physics comes ultimately from Greek ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Who came up with the name "Manhattan distance"?

Who came up with the name "Manhattan distance" (for the distance between two points as measured by the sum of the horizontal and vertical distances, as opposed to the length of the straight ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Who coined the 'particle zoo' expression?

I've been looking for the origin of the 'particle zoo' expression but so far failed to track down who first used it or at least who popularized it.
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What is the origin of the "Japanese bracket"?

In discussions of Sobolev spaces one often sees the Japanese bracket, $$\langle x \rangle = (1+|x|^2)^{1/2},$$ as useful shorthand. I was not easily able to find information about this term. (1) What ...
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How did the first astronomers define what a planet is?

What is the origin of the term "planet" and how did astronomers first define the term?
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Which one goes first - Secant or Newton - in Numerical root finding technique?

In Numerical root solving technique, which comes first in history - Newton or Secant - and each one is named after whom?
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Why are linear forms called "forms"?

My question is about linear forms, quadratic forms, n-linear forms, differential forms and so on. The first term of these names seem clear to me, but I cannot make a link between these mathematical ...
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History: Direct Product became Tensor Product?

I'm reading a 1939 paper by the great and famous J. von Neumann, "On infinite direct products" (of vector spaces), available here http://www.numdam.org/item/?id=CM_1939__6__1_0, legally I ...
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3 votes
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Where does the term "arm's-length recursion" come from?

I've recently seen the term "arm's-length recursion" for a recursive method with a check that short-circuits the method's true or intended base case. What's the origin of this term? How did ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What changes in mathematics resulted in the change of the definition of primes and exclusion of 1?

Why 1 is not prime? I read in this article that G.H Hardy explicitly included 1 as a prime in the first 6 editions of "A Course in Pure Mathematics", published between 1908-1933. He updated ...
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Where does "the grating equation" come from? Does it have a another name?

What we often refer to as Snell's law: $$n_1 \sin(\theta_1) - n_2 \sin(\theta_2) = 0$$ has quite a bit of history behind it. It can be demonstrated in several ways, one of which is by asserting that ...
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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 ...
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Where does the name "geometric theory" come from?

In mathematical logic, where does the adjective "geometric" comes from, in terms like "geometric theories" and "geometric logic"? These terms come up in fields like topos ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Who introduced the divisibility symbol $a\vert b$ ("$a$ divides $b$") and when?

I have just stumbled across this post and became curious about the same question, namely the part regarding the origin/history of the vertical bar symbol $a\vert b$ that we use to denote "a ...
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The reason behind defining the direction of angular velocity towards the axis of rotation?

This is one of those questions which has confused a lot of students like me and I know similar questions have been asked on Physics Stack exchange but I literally want to know what was the reason ...
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What are the origins of the term "matter"?

I am seeking an understanding of the scientific term "matter". My research tells me that "hyle" and "materia" were both used. I am trying to create something of a ...
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7 votes
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Who coined the Hawaiian Earrings?

I hope to know who first used the name "Hawaiian Earrings." Barratt, Milnor(1962) says "This example was suggested by Steenrod" in its Introduction: https://www.ams.org/journals/...
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