22
$\begingroup$

Chinese Remainder Theorem is perhaps the most famous piece of mathematics named after a country. Another example, although less famous, is the concept of a Polish space. What other theorems, concepts or objects are named after a geographic region, a city or any other type of location?

$\endgroup$
23
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Do the seven bridges of Königsberg and the St. Petersburg paradox count as regions? $\endgroup$
    – MrYouMath
    Oct 28, 2017 at 22:21
  • 28
    $\begingroup$ Here is a big list of mathematical concepts named after places. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2017 at 22:26
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ An infamous example: Chinese Dumbass Notation $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2017 at 22:31
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because there is already a Wikipedia page that could be found by a trivial Google search. $\endgroup$
    – user21820
    Oct 29, 2017 at 16:44
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I voted to reopen this question, because although it is trivial to answer, the stated closure reason (“off-topic” and “This question does not appear to be about math within the scope defined in the help center.”) are both misleading, and give the wrong impression to anyone who sees this question. If something like “does not show enough effort” is the real reason for closing the question, then that must be stated as the reason for closure. $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2017 at 5:43

14 Answers 14

22
$\begingroup$

There exists a list on Wikipedia about this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mathematical_concepts_named_after_places

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ This sounds like a convincing answer, but does it not fall foul of the no link-only answer convention? It actually seems to me more useful than a series of answers naming one or two each! $\endgroup$
    – PJTraill
    Nov 1, 2017 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ @PJTraill, I guess it's not much of a problem in this case since this is a community wiki answer and the linked article is from a sufficiently reliable website and has negligible chances of link rot. If you notice, I mentioned the same link in the comments and didn't post it as an answer precisely because of the reason you mention though. $\endgroup$ Nov 2, 2017 at 23:17
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ and yet, in 2021, it now points to a "Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name." page. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2021 at 21:53
21
$\begingroup$

The Monte Carlo method, Monte Carlo algorithm, Las Vegas algorithm, and Atlantic City algorithm have an element of randomness in common.

$\endgroup$
12
$\begingroup$

Does Manhattan norm (here) count as such?

$\endgroup$
3
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There's also the Metropolis algorithm, which I recognize was named after someone's surname, but it's also Superman's city :-) $\endgroup$
    – user169852
    Oct 28, 2017 at 22:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've also heard the discrete metric referred to as the Los Angeles metric: everything is 45 minutes away. $\endgroup$
    – Micah
    Oct 29, 2017 at 5:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Micah: I've heard that attributed to Stanislaw Ulam, with the distance being an hour. $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2017 at 15:36
12
$\begingroup$

Tropical geometry was named in honor of the (Hungarian-)Brazilian mathematician Imre Simon.

$\endgroup$
10
$\begingroup$

In mathematical finance, there is a convention of naming various styles of options after places. American and European options are the most common, but I've also heard of:

  • Asian options

  • Russian options

  • Bermuda, Canary, Verde options (partway between American and European)

  • Boston options

  • Parisian options

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Monte Carlo simulation is one of my favorite mathematical methods named after a place, AND it is used for options pricing! $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2017 at 0:25
9
$\begingroup$

Berkeley cardinals are a type of large cardinal.

(And I guess one could argue about whether worldly cardinals count.)

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ In the same vein, there are now Varsovian models. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2017 at 23:33
8
$\begingroup$

Steiner's Roman surface is a continuous image of the real projective plane into $\mathbb{R}^{3}.$ It has its name because the parametrization was discovered by Jakob Steiner while he was in Rome in 1844.

$\endgroup$
4
  • $\begingroup$ The Roman surface is not an embedding (nor an immersion) of $\mathbb{RP}^2$ into $\mathbb{R}^3$. It is, however, a continuous image of $\mathbb{RP}^2$. $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2017 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ @JesseMadnick: Thanks, I don't know much about it besides what I've read on the Wikipedia page, which is a bit confusingly written. Of course, I should have realised myself since it obviously self-intersects (and "embedding" is usually reseved for injections, no?). $\endgroup$
    – Will R
    Oct 29, 2017 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ The word "embedding" has a precise mathematical meaning: "homeomorphism onto its image." In particular, yes, embeddings are injective. (And yes, the Wikipedia article is definitely confusing as written.) Anyway, I think you mean the parametrization (or mapping) was discovered by Jakob Steiner. (I'm not trying to nitpick; it's just that your wording is somewhat misleading.) $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2017 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ @JesseMadnick: Well, I think more generally we just mean "isomorphism onto its image", but yes. $\endgroup$
    – Will R
    Oct 30, 2017 at 4:41
7
$\begingroup$

The famous Königsberg Bridge Problem certainly qualifies, and was the first that came to mind for me.

$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

The SNCF metric has the property that to pass from point A to point B you have to pass via Paris.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ Also known in the UK as the British Rail metric (same joke, with Paris replaced by London). $\endgroup$
    – Chappers
    Oct 29, 2017 at 12:46
5
$\begingroup$

The Method of Four Russians is a technique for speeding up algorithms involving Boolean matrices, or more generally algorithms involving matrices in which each cell may take on only a bounded number of possible values.

It is unclear whether all the four authors were in fact Russian at the moment of publishing the paper. It is known that at least two of the four authors (Arlazarov and Kronrod) were actually born in Moscow. While Kronrod died in Moscow in $1986$, Arlazarov still lives and works in Moscow as of $2016$.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

Polish and reverse Polish notation.

(Not to be confused with Hungarian notation, which this is definitely the wrong SE site for.)

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

What about mathematics created by mathematicians whose surnames were derived from names of cities? Would that count? If so, here are some examples:

$\endgroup$
4
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not exactly the thing the question is asking for, but interesting piece of trivia nonetheless. One reason why it would be problematic to include such examples is that it's hard to see where to draw the line. Should Barry Mazur qualify? Mazur is a common Polish surname, meaning literally "a guy from Masuria". I have no idea if he even set foot in Masuria, nor am I even sure he has Polish ancestors... $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2017 at 9:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JakubKonieczny There's also Stanisław Mazur. I thought of including Mazur in my list, but, indeed, it is too common. Wiener is also somewhat common, but Presburger seems to be much less common. $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2017 at 9:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This immediately made me think of the Cremona group: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremona_group . When I first heard about it, I thought it was indeed named directly after the town; and I spent quite some time wondering if there was any kind of connection between violin-making and birational transformations... $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2017 at 13:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The Wiener sausage (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiener_sausage) is clearly named after both Wiener (the man) and Wiener (the sausage). $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2017 at 15:33
3
$\begingroup$

The Wonderful Demlo numbers were named by D. R. Kaprekar for an Indian train station.

(Where is that town/station? What are its geographical coordinates, and does it still exist today?)

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

The word algorithm is derived, through medieval Latin from Khiva (Uzbekistan). The 9th-century mathematician Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Mūsa, author of works on algebra and arithmetic, was called al-Ḵwārizmī ‘the man of Ḵwārizm’. In fact, algebra is a term form medicine used in one of his books Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala.

His name entered the language (influenced by Greek arithmos ‘number’) through Old French from medieval Latin algorismus. He is depicted below.

al-Ḵwārizmī ‘the man of Ḵwārizm'

As far as I known, the concept of algorithm derived from his (first?) complete solution to the second degree equation, divided in six different cases, taking into account that dealing with negative numbers and the zero was not natural at that time.

Aside, the polar co-ordinate system seems the most obvious. And yes, we have two poles. The exact origin is not clear to me. However, the Polar coordinate system, used in astronomy in ancient times, was slowly extended into a genuine coordinate system, related to the poles

The calculation is essentially the conversion of the equatorial polar coordinates of Mecca (i.e. its longitude and latitude) to its polar coordinates (i.e. its qibla and distance) relative to a system whose reference meridian is the great circle through the given location and the Earth's poles, and whose polar axis is the line through the location and its antipodal point.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure polar coordinate is named after north/south poles ? $\endgroup$
    – user312097
    Oct 29, 2017 at 20:37

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .