A case of mathematical eponymy: the Vandermonde determinantReport as inadecuate

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1 IPS - Inférence Processus Stochastiques LJK - Laboratoire Jean Kuntzmann

Abstract : We study the historical process that led to the worldwide adoption, throughout mathematical research papers and textbooks, of the denomination -Vandermonde determinant-. The mathematical object can be related to two passages in Vandermonde-s writings, of which one inspired Cauchy-s definition of determinants. Influential citations of Cauchy and Jacobi may have initiated the naming process. It started during the second half of the 19\textsuperscript{th} century as a pedagogical practice in France. The spread in textbooks and research journals began during the first half of 20\textsuperscript{th} century, and only reached full acceptance after the 1960-s. The naming process is still ongoing, in the sense that the volume of publications using the denomination grows significantly faster than the overall volume of the field.

Keywords : Eponymy Vandermonde determinant history of determinants

Author: Bernard Ycart -

Source: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/


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