How to get something named after you

HINT: You have to do it yourself

OK, so you want an eponymous idea. Presumably you are currently below the Arbesman Limit, so that won’t be a factor. First, take your surname and append one of the following suggested terms (see Table A).

Now you have your own idea, or at least a name for it. The next step is to give meat to your concept. Allow me to demonstrate the procedure by way of example. Suppose your name is Jenkins. You have settled on the term “Jenkins Measure” due to its delightfully lilting cadence, but are at a loss as to its meaning. Simply allow your mind to wander. What are you interested in? What is strange about the world? What can be measured?

This NY Times article is full of useful tips for leaving your name to posterity. It ends with a note of caution:

Of course, before you go out and begin to grace the world with your newly minted eponymous idea, don’t forget Stigler’s Law of Eponymy: “No scientific law is named after its original discoverer.” (Stephen Stigler attributes this to Robert Merton.)

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

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