Recently, I was looking for the reviews of some Analysis books while encountered terms such as Baby/Papa/Mama/Big Rudin. Firstly, I thought that these are the names of a book! But it turned out that these are some nick names used for the books of Walter Rudin. So I was thinking that

$1$. What are the corresponding books of these nick names?
$2$. Why such nick names are chosen? or What are their origins?

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Baby Rudin is Principles of Mathematical Analysis; I’m pretty sure that I was already hearing that name back in the early $1970$s when I was his wife’s student. Big Rudin is Real and Complex Analysis. Baby Rudin is an (advanced) undergraduate text; Big Rudin is a graduate text. $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2016 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ "Baby Rudin" is Principles of Mathematical Analysis, so called because it's the most elementary of his books and and its topics are prerequisites to the others. $\qquad$ $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2016 at 19:39
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Baby = Principles of Mathematical Analysis; Papa = Real and Complex Analysis; Grandpa = Functional Analysis $\endgroup$
    – Kaj Hansen
    Jul 18, 2016 at 19:40
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    $\begingroup$ @H.R.: I assume that Papa Rudin is, as Kaj said, the same as Big Rudin, though I don’t think that I’ve actually noticed the name before; I’ve never encountered the name Mama Rudin. (That ought to be Mary Ellen, his wife — except that she didn’t write any books!) $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2016 at 19:47
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @David: Borderline; I chose not to count it, but it wouldn’t be wholly unreasonable to count it. (I definitely didn’t forget it: I proofread the ms. and suggested a few small changes.) $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2016 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


In order to sum up the above comments, the corresponding books for these nick names are

$1$. Baby = Principles of Mathematical Analysis;

$2$. Papa/Big = Real and Complex Analysis;

$3$. Grandpa = Functional Analysis;

and it seems that the difficulty of contents of the books grows with the age of the nick names! Firstly, you are a baby and things are easy to handle. Then you grow up and become a papa and things get more complicated. Finally, when you are a grandpa you should take care of your legacy very carefully which needs a hardwork! So $1$ is a prerequisite of $2$ and $2$ is prerequisite of $3$.

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    $\begingroup$ Actually, Baby Rudin is not easier to grasp than Grandpa Rudin. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2021 at 21:06

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