Questions tagged [terminology]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
0 votes
0 answers
22 views

Help With Understanding of Constants in Zeller's Congruence

If this would be better suited over on the Mathematics Exchange, please move it appropriately. I thought I would start here for the history type aspect Background I'm currently working as a Data ...
0 votes
0 answers
79 views

Which mathematical concepts do not have any obvious origin outside mathematics?

Some mathematical concepts, such as that of number and that of geometrical figure, presumably originate from pre-existing notions already used by at least some non-mathematicians. Others seem to have ...
3 votes
1 answer
64 views

When did they start requiring holotypes for species description?

I know they weren't required in the early 1800s but obviously they are now so just wondering when this started being required and/or who coined holotype. Internet research yielded no good answers.
1 vote
1 answer
117 views

F = ma -- How was did we come to understand that this compact form expressed what Newton said in words?

My understanding is, Newton in the 17th century did not use this formula but rather said, in words basically that if you apply a force it will cause a mass to accelerate in the direction of that force....
4 votes
0 answers
68 views

Sparse matrix ("matrice creuse") etymology in French

I am looking for the etymology of matrice creuse. According to Wikipedia, it seems James Joseph Sylvester used the term "matrix" in 1850, and Harry Markowitz used the term "sparse ...
0 votes
0 answers
49 views

Where is Fock on Klein-Gordon equation?

I was researching a bit about the history of the famous Klein-Gordon equation and I found out that Fock also independently discovered it in the same year as Klein and Gordon, 1926. However, ...
2 votes
0 answers
87 views

Origin of "Sierpinski space"?

Nowadays the unique 2 point, nondiscrete, nontrivial topological space goes by the name of the Sierpinski space. How did that space come to be named after Sierpinski? The comments to this MathOverflow ...
1 vote
1 answer
142 views

Were molecules called atoms in the 19th century?

E.g. a quote from Justus von Liebig, 17th Chemical Letter, 1858, in German: Wir können ein Stück Zucker, auch wenn wir es noch so fein reiben, nicht flüssig machen, noch viel weniger können wir durch ...
2 votes
2 answers
149 views

Definition and name change of the oscillation function

I have two related questions: Who first defined the oscillation function (perhaps under a different name)? When did the switch from the phrase "saltus function"(*) to "oscillation ...
0 votes
0 answers
107 views

A brief history of "delocalization" of electrons

I have been studying the concepts of "resonance" and "mesomerism" recently and a common principle of these concepts is the "delocalization" (of electrons, molecular ...
4 votes
2 answers
191 views

History and origin of the Iso-, Sec-, Tert- and Neo- prefixes?

I have studied the prefixes "Iso-", "Sec-", "Tert-" and "Neo-" for a long time in chemistry but wonder where they originate from i.e. where is the place (the ...
8 votes
1 answer
292 views

How did the concept of pH originate and develop?

Background & My research To begin I did some research to find a few articles on the history of pH namely "The Symbol for pH"- William B. Jensen, "One-Hundred Years of pH" - ...
0 votes
0 answers
147 views

Instances in which a term initially coined to reject a theory later became the widely accepted term for that very theory after it became the consensus

I'm looking for an instance other than that of the 'big bang' — a term coined by Fred Hoyle to reject the theory being referred to. The theory also later went on to become the consensus with the very ...
2 votes
0 answers
135 views

Origin of the concepts of Stress and Strain

Background & My research So, I recently studied about the concepts of Stress and Strain in my high school physics classes and wanted to know about the history behind the origin and emergence of ...
2 votes
1 answer
148 views

The reason why sheaf theory emerged

Motivation: In any history, there is a cause-and-effect relationship. So I became curious about the situation in which the sheaf theory came to appear. In other words, I'm curious about what problem ...
1 vote
0 answers
41 views

Usage of the word "autonomous" to refer to time-invariant differential equations

At what point in time did the term "autonomous" begin to signify time-invariance within the context of dynamical systems, and what prompted this association?
1 vote
0 answers
103 views

Who came up with the Darwinian demon?

I know of Maxwell's, Descartes' and Laplace's demons but I recently found out that there is Darwinian one. I do not think that this demon appears in the works of Charles Darwin. Do you know who may ...
3 votes
1 answer
253 views

On early US patriotism to choose quark color charge labels

Sean Carroll has a video about gauge theory (2020) in his series about Greatest Ideas of the Universe, where he claims that early in the development of quantum chromodynamics, some physicists tried to ...
1 vote
1 answer
180 views

Was "potency set" used for power set?

Cross posted at Math Overflow For historical reasons, the English term "power set" in set theory is a translation of the German "Potenzmenge", which is still in use in German ...
1 vote
2 answers
206 views

Why energy rate did not replace power = Force times velocity?

After reading the history of horse power (and power), the physical definitions for them and after testing the theory in rally races, I'm curious what were the reasons for selecting this word (power) ...
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Etymology of "power" (math.)

Having done some searches on the internet, seems like the term "power" is a mistranslation. The Wikipedia article links to an article in the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive where it is written ...
0 votes
0 answers
166 views

Why Serre need to develop the concept of "sheaf theory" in algebraic geometry? [duplicate]

I read Edward Frenkel's Love and Math. But reanding this book made me wonder about origin of the concept of the sheaf used in algebraic geometry. I think the conclusion that I came to in the process ...
1 vote
1 answer
74 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
198 views

The origin of $∂^2=0$ and $d^2=0$

I know that formula $∂^2=0$ and $d^2=0$ very important in the homology and cohomology theory. And I understand that this formula was generated from the process of finding a solution to the partial ...
2 votes
2 answers
154 views

Etymology of "discrete" in mathematics

People sometimes make a distinction between continuous mathematics and discrete mathematics. Continuous mathematics study objects that abstract the notion of a continuum and typical examples are the ...
1 vote
1 answer
231 views

Who introduced the terminology “nondecreasing” for weakly increasing (i.e. x≤y ⇒ f(x)≤f(y)), and when/why?

Arguably one of the most hated parts of English mathematical terminology is the word “nondecreasing”, referring to a function such that $x\leq y \;\Rightarrow\; f(x)\leq f(y)$ (what other conventions ...
3 votes
2 answers
329 views

What's the difference between Galileo's "impeto" and "momento"?

In Galileo's Two New Sciences, he describes an experiment demonstrating pendulum motion and how the pendulum will rise to the same height from where it started its fall. This discussion can be found ...
0 votes
1 answer
110 views

Who first introduced the term "necessary condition" in mathematical language?

I recently delved into a discussion about a statement attributed to the renowned mathematician and philosopher, Benjamin Peirce. In this statement, he refers to mathematics as "the science that ...
0 votes
0 answers
62 views

Who was the first to use bijections?

I know that Bourbaki were the first who used the word 'bijection', but one-to one functions were for sure used before them. So do you aware of the earliest examples of one-to-one correspondences?
5 votes
1 answer
153 views

How did the concept of local field emerge and develop in mathematics?

When I was studying class field theory, I saw local class field theory. However, I suddenly became curious about local fields, not local class field theory. As far as I know, the local field is the ...
1 vote
0 answers
50 views

Dissemination of Calculus in China

Much has already been written about the dissemination of Euclidean geometry into China: https://www.maa.org/press/periodicals/convergence/mathematical-treasure-euclid-in-china, https://academic.oup....
2 votes
1 answer
711 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
42 views

Origin of $V_a$ (median) notation

My question about median of a triangle. The English equivalent of the Turkish word "kenarortay" is "median". In English-language geometry sources (like books or web pages), the ...
3 votes
1 answer
112 views

What is the origin of the "red, green, yellow" quark color convention?

In physics, quarks come in one of three color states, usually chosen to be called, "red", "green", and "blue". However, because these are just labels, there are other ...
1 vote
2 answers
201 views

In a survey of historical science has anyone studied the propensity of other departments to co-opt scientific terminology to further their own ideas?

For example, Albert Einstein complained that sociology departments across the quad were using his theory of relativity to advance the idea of "relativistic morality." The meaning of ...
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why are 'speed' and 'velocity' not given the same name?

Position is a vector. Distance/length is a name of its magnitude. Velocity is a vector. Speed is a name of its magnitude. Acceleration is a name of a vector and its magnitude. Force is a name of a ...
5 votes
1 answer
235 views

Who first called $\mathrm e$ "Euler's number"?

Euler is usually credited with denoting this number with the letter $\mathrm e$. But It seems unlikely that Euler chose the letter because it is the initial of his own name, as occasionally been ...
1 vote
1 answer
95 views

Light propagated instantaneously rather than gradually

In the following paper from I. Bernard Cohen, "Roemer and the First Determination of the Velocity of Light (1676)" published on Isis (1940): Can be read: explaining that the delay would ...
5 votes
1 answer
522 views

When was the term "union" first used?

I found out that the symbol for union, ∪, was created in 1895 by Giuseppe Peano in his Formulario Mathematico but of course the use of the word "union" in mathematics was older. Do you have a ...
4 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why is one meter as long as it is?

The metre is defined as the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum in 1/299 792 458 of a second Why is this so? Who decided that 1/299,792,458 of a ...
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the etymology of the term space-time?

I'm looking for the earliest references to the word space-time (in the modern sense), in any language. The first references would likely be in German, as Raum-Zeit or Raumzeit. Of course, H. Minkowski ...
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the story behind various uses of the word "spectrum"?

Here are five distinct uses of the word spectrum in physics and mathematics: Spectrum (optics): The range of colors in the rainbow Spectrum (particle physics): The range of electromagnetic ...
2 votes
1 answer
488 views

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. ...
3 votes
0 answers
120 views

Who coined the term Orthonormal?

Does anyone know who coined the term orthonormal to refer to a basis that is orthogonal and normal? In such a poorly named mathematical world (looking at you, conditionally convergent series) I think ...
1 vote
1 answer
132 views

When did Macaulay rings become Cohen-Macaulay rings?

In his book on commutative rings (published 1970), Kaplansky talks about Macaulay rings. In the mid 1970's, I learned some commutative algebra from a student of his, who referred to these rings as ...
2 votes
1 answer
221 views

Use of the verb "induct" in proofs by mathematical induction

Occasionally, in a proof by mathematical induction, the writer will say something like, "We induct on $n$" or "We induct on the number of vertices." This usage of the verb induct ...
3 votes
0 answers
67 views

Why did "cold fusion" come to mean Fleischmann-Pons fusion instead of μCF?

Muon-catalysed fusion is obtained at low temperatures, although as of 2018 its energy yield is less than the muon production requirements. The term "cold fusion" was first used in the 1950s, ...
2 votes
1 answer
596 views

The etymology of "radio waves"

The word "radio" originates from "radius", which in turn came from "ray". That's why "radius" means any line from a central focal point to any directions. ...
1 vote
0 answers
64 views

Poisson's laws for adiabatic processes

I've been reading about Thermodynamics lately. The set of equations satisfied in an adiabatic process (and also more generally in polytropic ones) is: $$p_1V_1^\gamma = p_2V_2^\gamma$$ $$T_1V_1^{\...
2 votes
3 answers
29k views

"Calories" vs "calories"

Why was it decided to differentiate kcals from calories with a capital 'C'? It seems kind of odd to me. 1 Cal = 1 kcal = 1000 cal What were the reasons ...

1
2 3 4 5
8