### 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 |

Metric | Friedmann-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 |

Length | Jeans |

Number | Avogadro, Chandrasekhar, Euler |

Surface | Fermi |

Condensate | Bose-Einstein |

Radius | Schwartzschild, Bohr |

Convention | Einstein Summation |

Transform | Forier, Laplace |

Series | Balmer, Lyman |

Line | Lyman, Balmer |

Rules | Slater |

Scattering | Compton, Rayleigh, Thompson |

Variable | Cepheid, RR Lyrae |

Diffusion | Bohm |

Diffraction | Bragg |

Junction | Josephson |

Expansion | Taylor |

Manifold | Riemann |

Topology | Picard |

Mechanism | Higgs |

Peak | Wein |

Test | Tolman surface brightness |

Repulsion | Coulomb |

Epoch | Planck |

Parameter | Hubble |

[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 |

Boson | Higgs |

Profile | Hernquist |

Criterion | Landau |

Rigidity | Born |

Cross-section | Thompson |

Zone | Brillouin, (also see, List of Zones) |

State | Hartle-Hawking |

Angle | Weinberg |

Universe | de Sitter, Lemaître |

Sea | Dirac, Fermi |

Magneton | Bohr |

Splitting | Zeeman |

Forest | Lyman-alpha |

Blob | Lyman-alpha |

Swindle | Jeans |

Trough | Gunn-Peterson |

Window | Gamow |

Cage | Faraday |

Engine | Carnot |

Bucket | Newton |

Tuning Fork | Hubble |

Golden Rule | Fermi |

Pancake | Zel'dovich |

Brain | Boltzmann |

Demon | Maxwell |

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:

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.

fermi is my hero.

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!

Post a Comment