May 28, 2007

Eponymity in Physics

A physicist wanting to make an impact on the field most often imagines his or her name attached to an Equation, or a Theory. Or even, if they really want to move mountains, a Law. I have no idea what mathematicians think about, but I would assume that they are hoping to come up with Theorems and Conjectures. Of course, not everyone is an Einstein or a Kepler, able to remake a subject and declare a Law. But if you carve out a niche for yourself, or invent a novel way of dealing with a certain topic, you're virtually assured of getting something. For an elegant discovery, you could have an Angle named after you, or a Number. Or in a more bizarre direction, a Sea or Paradox. de Sitter has an entire Universe! Me? If I could become the first person since Isaac Newton with an eponymous Bucket I would consider myself a success. There are so many strange things you could find named in your honor that I have compiled an extensive list of them.

First, some of the most common:


Equation
Formula

Law

Theorem

Theory

Hypothesis

[A Unit] Newton, Gauss, Joule
[A Constant] Planck, Boltzmann
Function Riemann-Zeta, Bessel
Effect Mössbauer, Stark, Bohr,
Gunn-Peterson, etc.

And then of course, there are rarer terms. These trend very roughly from less to more obscure.

Field Fermionic, Bosonic, Higgs
Matrix Kobayashi, Cabibbo
Relation Heisenberg, Tully-Fisher
Principle Copernican, Pauli Exclusion
Model Schwinger, Bohr
Method Schrödinger
Postulate Planck, Weyl
Approximation Born
Space
Minkowski, Fock, Hilbert
MetricFriedmann-Robertson-Walker,
Minkowski
Distribution Wigner, Bose-Einstein, Fermi-Dirac
___-on Fermi, Bose
___-ian Laplace, Hamilton, Riemann
Notation Dirac
Potential Coulomb, Yukawa
Action Stueckelberg, Proca
Inequality Minkowski, Bell
Limit Chandrasekhar
Tensor Riemann
Scalar Ricci
Gauge Newtonian
Diagram Feynman
Radiation Cherenkov, Hawking
Cycle Carnot, Born
Interpretation Bohm, Copenhagen
Paradox Einstein-Podolski-Rosen,
Olber, Fermi
Problem Rabi, Fermi
Experiment Milikan Oil Drop
Spectrum Mössbauer
Conjecture Witten
Interaction Yakawa
Amplitude Feynman
Operator d'Alembert
Particle Higgs, Planck
Neutrino Majorana, Dirac
Motion Brownian
LengthJeans
Number Avogadro, Chandrasekhar, Euler
Surface Fermi
Condensate Bose-Einstein
Radius Schwartzschild, Bohr
Convention Einstein Summation
Transform Forier, Laplace
SeriesBalmer, Lyman
LineLyman, Balmer
RulesSlater
ScatteringCompton, Rayleigh, Thompson
Variable
Cepheid, RR Lyrae
Diffusion Bohm
Diffraction
Bragg
JunctionJosephson
ExpansionTaylor
Manifold Riemann
TopologyPicard
MechanismHiggs
PeakWein
TestTolman surface brightness
RepulsionCoulomb
EpochPlanck
ParameterHubble
[An Element]
Einstein, Fermi, Curie, Mendeleev, Lawrence, Nobel
Time/Mass/Energy/Temperature
/Density
/Power/Current/Length
Planck
Energy/Level/Hole/Velocity
/Temperature
Fermi
Wavelength de Broglie
BosonHiggs
ProfileHernquist
CriterionLandau
Rigidity Born
Cross-sectionThompson
Zone Brillouin, (also see, List of Zones)
StateHartle-Hawking
Angle Weinberg
Universede Sitter, Lemaître
Sea Dirac, Fermi
Magneton
Bohr
SplittingZeeman
ForestLyman-alpha
BlobLyman-alpha
SwindleJeans
TroughGunn-Peterson
WindowGamow
CageFaraday
EngineCarnot
BucketNewton
Tuning Fork
Hubble
Golden Rule Fermi
PancakeZel'dovich
BrainBoltzmann
DemonMaxwell
Cat
Schrödinger

If anyone else is able to repeat that last one, I will be highly impressed. I would also like to point out that the Higgs boson may be the only phenomenon or concept that has two namesakes, since the term boson originally comes from Satyendra Bose! If you can think of anything else let me know and I'll add it.

3 comments:

Doug said...

Demon is good, I'd be quite happy to replicate that one. Laplace has one too. I had been hoping for a Paradox or Universe before, but the demon is tempting now.

Zosia A. C. Krusberg said...

fermi is my hero.

Barkerbass said...

I happened on your deathless prose trying to find a 'ficial define of "eponymity" and it appears to be a neologism. Congratulations, that's a start!

And I hope you delight in this video as much as I did:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/

I know nothing of your field but I think I would benefit from reading your writing.

Onward!