34 votes

Has there ever been a case where someone wished a theorem or important result wasn't named after them? Has it happened more than once?

On the Löwenheim–Skolem theorem: It is somewhat ironic that Skolem's name is connected with the upward direction of the theorem as well as with the downward direction: "I follow custom in ...
user avatar
  • 493
27 votes

Are there any mathematical objects that got renamed over time?

Newton referred to his concept of a derivative as a "fluxion". He called time-varying functions "fluents". Generally speaking, it is common for important mathematical concepts and ...
user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

Are there any mathematical objects that got renamed over time?

Another example is the notion of orbifolds. Originally, it was introduced by Satake in 1950s under the (nondescriptive) name V-manifolds. Then, beginning in 1980s, under the influence of William ...
user avatar
  • 1,638
13 votes

Has there ever been a case where someone wished a theorem or important result wasn't named after them? Has it happened more than once?

According to a recent episode of PBS Space Time, Freeman Dyson "regretted" the Dyson Sphere being named after him. According to the Wikipedia article Dyson was not the first to advance this ...
user avatar
  • 231
12 votes

How did "royal we" become a standard of scientific writing?

The "we" in the scientific papers does not mean the "royal we". This "we" means "you and I", that is "the author and the reader". For example, in proving something they say "let us consider"... and ...
user avatar
12 votes

Are there any mathematical objects that got renamed over time?

Gregoire de Saint-Vincent, along with his student Alphonse Antonio de Sarasa, developed hyperbolic logarithm, now known as natural logarithm, by relating logarithms to the quadrature of the hyperbola $...
user avatar
  • 1,975
12 votes

Are there any mathematical objects that got renamed over time?

Monads were introduced as "standard constructions" (an awful, non-descriptive name), then were called "triples" (even worse), until the term "monad" was popularized by ...
user avatar
  • 221
11 votes
Accepted

Why is the Digamma function always denoted with the letter "psi"?

I believe it’s because this function was used, and denoted “psi”, much before it got a name. Indeed, it looks like $(\log\circ\,\Pi)'$ and $(\log\circ\,\Gamma)'$ first occur in Euler (1755, pp. 797-...
user avatar
9 votes

Counterclockwise vs. clockwise

I suppose that all these notions and terminology come from the early astronomy. It so happened that in the ancient times astronomy was mostly practiced in the Northern hemisphere. If you observe from ...
user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Why don't we name the Higgs boson a "higgson"?

There are a number of reasons: The thing that differentiates fermions and bosons from the Higgs boson specifically is that they are general classes of particles (based on spin), while the Higgs boson ...
user avatar
  • 8,122
9 votes
Accepted

When and why did people stopped using "natural philosophy" term and started using "science"?

What was called "natural philosophy" is not what is now called "science". The latter, with its specific institutions and standards, only started forming in 17th century and was not fully formed until ...
user avatar
  • 67.1k
8 votes

Why do Maxwell's equations bear his name?

As you noticed, separate equations have other names as well. Maxwell's adding the displacement term made the system complete, with all important consequences, in particular, existing of ...
user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Indiana Pi Bill: Other attempts to establish mathematical truth by legislative fiat?

It seems that this attempt made an impression, when one needs to make the point Indiana Pi itself is typically invoked. NMSR Reports modeled their 1998 April Fool's story on it: "NASA engineers and ...
user avatar
  • 67.1k
7 votes

Who was the first to use the phrase "the standard model" of something?

Its first appearance in particle physics was in Pais, A., and S. B. Treiman (1975), "How Many Charm Quantum Numbers are There?" Physical Review Letters 35, no. 23, p. 1556. The point was to ...
user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Do scientists and mathematicians name their discovery or inventions themselves?

Usually not, though there are exceptions. Names in honor of X are usually given by others than X herself. And it cannot be otherwise: the name of an object must be accepted by the research community. ...
user avatar
7 votes

What makes the musical isomorphism, musical?

The $\flat$ map in music lowers the pitch of a note (by one half) and the corresponding map lowers indices, the $\sharp$ map raises it, as well as the indices. And of course adding a flat after a ...
user avatar
7 votes

Has there ever been a case where someone wished a theorem or important result wasn't named after them? Has it happened more than once?

I cannot easily document the chatter about it, but G. ("Beppo", for "Giuseppe") Levi in 1906 used what we'd now call a "Sobolev space", to prove an actual (=true) minimum ...
user avatar
7 votes

Are there any mathematical objects that got renamed over time?

It seems that the constant formerly called $\zeta(3)$ is now called "Apéry's number".
user avatar
  • 8,625
6 votes
Accepted

Where did the naming structure of particles come from (suffix -on)?

This is a question about etymology. It all started with the genuine Greek words anion “going up” and kation “going down”, both neuter participles of the verb “to go” with different preverbs: an(a)- ...
user avatar
  • 3,335
6 votes

Why is the Heaviside step function named after Heaviside?

Oliver Heaviside invented what is called "symbolic calculus" which was a mathematically non-rigorous (at that time) but very effective way of solving differential equations that occur in physics and ...
user avatar
6 votes

What famous laws were named by their discoverer

This isn't really a physical law, nor is it exactly what you're asking for, but the statistical concept usually known as the "Akaike Information Criterion" (AIC) was indeed called AIC by Akaike, but ...
user avatar
  • 161
6 votes
Accepted

Resistor color code

The color code was developed in the 1920's by the Radio Manufacturers Association (RMA) as a three band code for resistor values. The three bands were more compact than the number value because the ...
user avatar
  • 1,799
6 votes

Has there ever been a case where someone wished a theorem or important result wasn't named after them? Has it happened more than once?

Diffie–Hellman key exchange is not a case where a person wishes it weren't named after them per se, but it is a case where they are unhappy that it is named after them while excluding another ...
user avatar
  • 161
5 votes
Accepted

Binet-Cauchy or Cauchy-Binet?

I am not sure what the editors of Wikipedia had in mind when arranging the names (if anything). Linear algebra textbook authors have them arranged every which way for both the formula and the identity,...
user avatar
  • 67.1k
5 votes

Why do Maxwell's equations bear his name?

Ampère never wrote down what is confusingly called "Ampère's circuital law," not even the form without the displacement current term, as Ampère never dealt with the field concept.* Maxwell derived $$\...
user avatar
  • 5,051
5 votes
Accepted

Who came up with R for the universal gas constant?

I quote from Ask the Historian "The Universal Gas Constant" by William B. Jensen, Department of Chemistry, University of Cincinnati, published in J. Chem. Educ., 2003, 80, 731-732 Question Why is ...
user avatar
  • 8,625
5 votes

Name of Polaris before it became a pole star?

Except for very few conspicuous stars (like Sirius), most stars had no individual names in the ancient Greece and Rome. In particular, in Ptolemy catalog, no star in Ursa Minor has a name. Polaris is ...
user avatar
5 votes

Has there ever been a case where someone wished a theorem or important result wasn't named after them? Has it happened more than once?

Let me tell two anecdotes related to the question: Once during a seminar talk Hilbert asked: "What is a Hilbert space?" Arnold, apparently envious for so many things named after Anosov, ...
user avatar
5 votes

Are there any mathematical objects that got renamed over time?

See here for a few examples, such as recursion theory becoming computability theory, (linear) complex groups becoming symplectic groups (change due to Weyl), bicompact becoming compact, and pre-...
user avatar
  • 4,084
4 votes

What famous laws were named by their discoverer

In 2013, Harminder Dua announced the discovery of the eponymous Dua's layer in the eye. Wikipedia writes: While some scientists welcomed the announcement, other scientists cautioned that time was ...
user avatar
  • 41

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible