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36 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 ...
qwr's user avatar
  • 562
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 ...
Adam Brown's user avatar
16 votes
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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 ...
Moishe Kohan's user avatar
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14 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 ...
Rodney's user avatar
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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 $...
Big Brother's user avatar
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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 ...
Pilcrow's user avatar
  • 221
11 votes
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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-...
Francois Ziegler's user avatar
9 votes
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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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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8 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 ...
Cosmas Zachos's user avatar
8 votes
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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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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8 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 ...
paul garrett's user avatar
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7 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 ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
7 votes
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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. ...
Alexandre Eremenko's 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 ...
Nicola Ciccoli's 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?

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 ...
JBentley's user avatar
  • 171
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".
Gerald Edgar's user avatar
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6 votes
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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 ...
jkien's user avatar
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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?

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, ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
5 votes
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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,...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.6k
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 $$\...
Geremia's user avatar
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5 votes
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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 ...
Gerald Edgar's user avatar
  • 10.4k
5 votes

How did Gaussian and Eisenstein integers get their names?

In the 19th century, the Gaussian integers were just called "complex integers". In Dirichlet-Dedekind's Vorlesungen uber Zahlentheorie from the late 1800s, the XI-th supplement was the 1st ...
KCd's user avatar
  • 5,689
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?

A near miss that I found is Lewis Fry Richardson, from Wikipedia: "According to Thomas Körner, the discovery that his meteorological work was of value to chemical weapons designers caused him to ...
user3067860's 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?

There's a story, weakly cited on his wikipedia page (citation goes to a specific page in a book which doesn't seem to back it up, but I can't read the next page in the google books preview so maybe it'...
llama's user avatar
  • 191
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-...
KCd's user avatar
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5 votes
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Why is the Mean Value Theorem (of holomorphic functions) called "Gauss's"?

The naming, apparently, derives from the corresponding theorem for harmonic functions, the mean value property. According to Netuka-Veselý's survey, Neumann originally called it der Gauss'sche Satz ...
Conifold's user avatar
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4 votes
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Name of Polaris before it became a pole star?

Polaris is a very well known star and named in many different languages. For example, in Inuit astronomy it was known as Niquirtsuituq and is depicted in the flag and coat of arms of the Canadian ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
4 votes

How did Gaussian and Eisenstein integers get their names?

The article you linked to gives some historical background: It's whilst Gauss was investigating reciprocity laws that he discovered the Eisenstein and Gaussian integers. The former are the natural ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
4 votes

Origin of O/L for false/true in German computer-science texts

Likely relevant resources are Konrad Zuse, "Der Computer ― Mein Lebenswerk" (Springer, Berlin 1984) and Raúl Rojas (ed.), "Die Rechenmachinen Konrad Zuses" (Springer, Berlin 1998). F.L. Bauer, H. ...
njuffa's user avatar
  • 6,704
4 votes

Are there any mathematical objects that got renamed over time?

In 19th-century (term) logic, it used to be common to talk about "classes". With the recognition of the idempotence law $b\cup b=b$ by William Stanley Jevons, Charles Sanders Peirce, and ...
Antonielly's user avatar

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