nLab Stigler's law of eponymy



Stigler’s law of eponymy is the principle that fundamental discoveries are named after the person who made them famous, not the person who made them first, and these are often not the same person.

It is also called the Matthew effect, after Matthew 25:29. It is a variant of Arnold’s law, which also applies to itself.

In certain parts of the mathematics community this is also called Baez's law, which states that

“Any effect, constant, theorem or equation named after Professor X was first discovered by Professor Y, for some value of Y not equal to X.”


Stigler himself named the sociologist Robert K. Merton as the discoverer of Stigler's law of eponymy, so that it is itself an example of Stigler's law of eponymy.

In mathematics

There are several more already on the nLab; they just don’t link here yet.

In physics


Last revised on May 3, 2023 at 17:45:59. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.