Weep for the mathematicians

Posterity acclaims:

Although we know their theorems

We cannot spell their names.

Forget the rules you thought you knew——

Henri Lebesgue has got no Q.

Although it almost rhymes with Birkhoff,

Two H's grace the name of Kirchhoff.

The Schwarz of inequality

And lemma too, he has no T.

The "distribution" Schwartz, you see

Is French, and so he has a T.

In Turing's name——no German, he——

an umlaut we should never see.

Hermann Grassmann——please try to

Spell both his names with 2 N's, too.

If you should ever have to quote

A Harvard Peirce, be sure to note

He has the E before the I;

And so does Klein. Rules still apply

To Wiener: I precedes the E;

The same for Riemann, as you see.

But Weierstrass, the lucky guy,

Has it both ways, with EIE.

Fejér, Turán, Cesàro, Fréchet——

Let's make the accents go that way,

And as for Radon-Nikodým,

Restore the accent, that's my dream.

But there is one I leave to you,

Whatever you ay choose to do:

Put letters in or leave them out,

Garnish with accents round about,

Finish the name with -eff or -off:

There is no way to spell Чeбышёв

If you would have a friend in me

Spell "Boas" thus, not with a z.

Stokes's theorem is O.K.

Stokes' theorem is another way.

Stoke's theorem has to be a joke.

Unless you thought his name was Stoke.


From Steven Krantz's Mathematical Apocrypha Redux