# Questions tagged [terminology]

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

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### Origin of the expression "Open problem"

Google Ngram shows that the expression "open problem" started to be in use around the end of the 19th century. My question is then 2-fold: Who coined the expression? Wikipedia doesn't seem ...
1 vote
102 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 ...
1 vote
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### Usage of "sphere" as ball's surface vs as ball itself

In everyday English, "sphere" means a round object. People will think of the insides as part of the sphere. In Mathematics it specifically means the surface of the ball. How did the ...
71 views

### Who coined the name "cosmological constant"?

I am aware that Albert Einstein first added the $\Lambda$-term to his field equations in his 1917 paper "Cosmological considerations in the general theory of relativity" (german: "... 65 views

### When was Lipschitz equivalence first attributed to Lipschitz or did Lipschitz formulate it himself?

In his book Introduction to Metric and Topological Spaces, author Wilson A Sutherland in explaining the equivalence of metrics invoked the definition: Two metrics $d_1, d_2$ on a set $X$ will be ...
395 views

### When was the term "Sparingly soluble" first introduced in chemistry?

This question is inspired from: Why do we call salts such as AgCl sparingly soluble? The extent of solubility can be expressed as descriptive terms. U.S. Pharmacopoeia has made the following ...
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### What is the origin of the negation ( ¬ ) operator from logic?

I'm curious as to what the rationale was, and who the idea occurred to, for the ¬ symbol. I'll grant that more common mathematical symbols like +, −, × and ÷ are also likely unknown, but they seem to ...
170 views

### Did Kronecker's "ganzen Zahlen" refer to whole numbers as natural numbers or integers?

Maybe this is a question better for German language Stack Exchange, but in the quote attributed to Kronecker: Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk. So "...
2k views

### What is the origin of the term "Ordinary Differential Equation"?

Who first used the term "Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE)"? Is it known why the word "ordinary" is used here? What makes an ODE "ordinary"?
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### Origin of the term "affixe"/"affix" in the geometric treatment of complex numbers

In current French mathematical tradition, when introducing complex numbers, it is common to hear about "complex plane of Argand-Cauchy". What is particular in French treatment, it is the ...
368 views

### First use of "Spur" (trace) for linear maps / matrices

Every student of linear algebra learns about the trace of a linear map. Its easiest (albeit not most conceptual) definition is: write the map as matrix, then the trace is the sum of the diagonal ...
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### Was the word 'gravity' an invention of Newton?

Before Newton many phycisists try to understand nature and the rotations of planets. But Newton founded his laws of gravity. But was he the first who used the word gravity or when was it first used? ...
38 views

### At what point did "Archean" go from meaning the entire Precambrian to just the middle part?

I can't find the exact date when the Archean began to mean "the middle of the Precambrian", as opposed to the beginning or the whole thing. It is some time after 1925 and before 1972. ...
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### Why is $T_{\mu\nu}$ the Standard Notation for the Stress-Energy-Momentum Tensor

My question is simple: why do we use $T_{\mu\nu}$ to denote the stress energy momentum tensor, and when was the concept of the stress energy tensor first (or roughly the first) introduced (and by whom)...
700 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 ...
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### What is the etymology behind sine, cosine, tangent, etc.?

I heard somewhere that it was actually a mistake in translation. What's the correct story?
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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?
977 views

### Why do we call a linear mapping "linear mapping"?

According to P. M. Cohn's Classic Algebra, for historical reasons we call a linear mapping "linear mapping". What are the historical reasons that led to the adoption of the term "linear ...
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### Why do we call Tycho Brahe by his first name?

Why do we use the fist name in Tychonic system or Tycho's comet of 1577, instead of using the last name of Tycho Brahe? For comparison, we have the Ptolemaic system and the Copernican system. I am ...
302 views