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Lower case names?

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Lower case names?

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Mathprof suggested some time ago that I exchange "hermitian" with "Hermitian" in one of my entries. I was told by an emeritus professor once that only Abel received the distinguished honor of "abelian" instead of "Abelian."

Today at a seminar at my university a professor from Norway gave a talk about Abel's life and work. At the end I asked him if this convention would be viewed as an honor or an insult to a Norwegian mathematician. He emphatically decreed that a lower case name was the highest possible honor and supported it used with other, such as artinian, noetherian, hermitian, etc.

What I would like to know is whether other mathemeticians, especially those with no USA training or backgrounds, find this convention honorable or disgraceful, and whether or not it has some equivalent in translations?

[The rest of you "yanks" can also express your opinion but as I mentioned to Mathprof, both conventions (lower/upper case) are clearly now supported by prestigeous publications and authors (backed by examples form many books on math of classical and modern origins.) So perhaps we can avoid little arguments about the validity of one or the other. I just want to understand what criterion should be met to transfor from Upper to lower and whether there is international sentiments.]


>> I would like to know *why* it would be considered an honor to have
>> one's name decapitalized (if that's really a word) in such usages.
>> This is something that I have never understood.

Consider a none math example. Have you ever boycotted a product? Do you like to eat sandwiches? Do you know any mothers who have had a caesarian? Each of these come from real people, and many more examples abound. Most people find no trouble "decapitolizing" these anymore.

The point is that if you language absorbs your name into a valid word then your name is forever immortalized. That doesn't seem that bad a way to be remembered to me.

I don't really have an opinion about upper case versus lower case, though I must admit that some terms--such as "galois group", "archimedean valuation", and "euclidean domain"--look very strange to me because of the lack of capitalization of the person's name. On the other hand, I am used to seeing "abelian" in lower case.

I am very interested in something that Algeboy said:

> At the end I asked him if this convention would be viewed as an honor or an insult to a Norwegian mathematician. He emphatically decreed that a lower case name was the highest possible honor and supported it used with other, such as artinian, noetherian, hermitian, etc.

I would like to know *why* it would be considered an honor to have one's name decapitalized (if that's really a word) in such usages. This is something that I have never understood.

From a normative (ortographic) point of view, I think there is no problem in writing "Abelian". I have learned that in the norms of the English language, all proper name nouns (e.g. Europe and Abel) and the adjectives derived from them (e.g. European and Abelian) are written in upper case. Thus I write "Abelian" and have no problems:)
BTW, there are many languages which write such adjectives always in lower case (the adjectives are not proper names!), e.g. in Finnish.
Jussi

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