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Thread: It's the EDGEWORTH-Kuiper belt, NOT the Kuiper belt!

  1. #1
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    It's the EDGEWORTH-Kuiper belt, NOT the Kuiper belt!

    With all the debate over whether the tenth planet is a planet, as well as what to name it, it's strange and improper that the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt is often referred to as the Kuiper belt.

    Edgeworth published the idea long before Kuiper. In fact, according to John Davies' fascinating book Beyond Pluto, Kuiper may have stolen the idea from Edgeworth. Kuiper certainly did not cite Edgeworth's work.

    Look what Edgeworth wrote in a 1943 article: "the outer region of the solar system, beyond the orbits of the planets, is occupied by a very large number of comparatively small bodies."

    Edgeworth repeated his claim in 1949: "It would be unreasonable to suppose that the original rotating disk of scattered material came to an abrupt end outside the orbit of Neptune. There must have been a gradual thinning out of the material at the outer boundary....It is not unreasonable to suppose that this outer region is now occupied by a large number of comparatively small clusters, and that it is in fact a vast reservoir of potential comets. From time to time one of these clusters is displaced from its position, enters the inner regions of the solar system, and becomes a visible comet." His full article, in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is here.

    And when did Kuiper first publish the idea? 1951!

    But Kuiper was famous and Edgeworth obscure. Consequently, many scientists give credit only to Kuiper. Of course, this just perpetuates the problem: Kuiper becomes yet more famous, Edgeworth yet more obscure.

    The correct name for the belt of small bodies beyond Neptune's orbit is therefore the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt. And if it can ever be proved that Kuiper stole the idea from Edgeworth and deliberately failed to cite him, it really should just be the Edgeworth belt.

    A similar problem occurred with the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Originally this was called the Russell diagram. Russell was famous, Hertzsprung obscure; but Hertzsprung had come up with the idea before Russell. In this case, there's no indication that Russell stole the idea from Hertzsprung. To be fair to Hertzsprung, the Russell diagram is now properly called the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crimson
    A similar problem occurred with the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Originally this was called the Russell diagram. Russell was famous, Hertzsprung obscure; but Hertzsprung had come up with the idea before Russell. In this case, there's no indication that Russell stole the idea from Hertzsprung. To be fair to Hertzsprung, the Russell diagram is now properly called the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
    Was that much of a problem? It has been my understanding, contributing to my estimation of his character, that Russell was always careful to acknowledge Hertzsprung's role.

    Some days I think that whatever it is in astronomy, we ought to just call it the Zwicky whatever and be done with it...

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    This whole thing smacks of pedantry. OK, I can understand people being picky about credit when they're alive, but when they're long dead, I think culture has the right to decide for itself what the final names for their discoveries should be. In fact I think it does anyway, regardless of whether science considers it "right". Who really calls the brontosaurus the apatosaurus, or the eohippus the hyracotherium? No matter what happens, the comet belt around the edge of our solar system is the Kuiper belt and no matter how many books disagree, that is what it shall remain.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality
    This whole thing smacks of pedantry.
    "Pedant", of course, is what people who are wrong call people who are right.
    I think Edgeworth deserves credit. If enough people agree and keep using his name, then the common usage will change. If people disagree and don't use the name, the common usage won't change. Time will tell, as you say.
    Interestingly, there's a campaign to eliminate someone's name going on in medical terminology. Reiter's syndrome is gradually turning into plain old reactive arthritis. Hans Reiter was a Nazi concentration camp doctor, and there has been a thirty-year campaign during which his name has gradually drifted out of use: not because he didn't have priority in describing the condition (he did, as far as I know), but simply because he is widely regarded as a Bad Person who doesn't deserve an eponym in his honour.

    Grant Hutchison

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    No, "pedant" is what people who are right call people who are wrong but think they're right. As a student of English, I know that most of the grammatical "rules" cited by pedants, often on completely spurious grounds, actually have no history as standard usage and were only invented (by pedants) in the 18th century, largely because they wanted English to behave more like Latin.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

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    Well, to be pedantic ...
    From the Oxford English Dictionary:
    A person who overrates book-learning or technical knowledge, or displays it unduly or unseasonably; one who has mere learning untempered by practical judgement and knowledge of affairs; one who lays excessive stress upon trifling details of knowledge or upon strict adherence to formal rules; sometimes, one who is possessed by a theory and insists on applying it in all cases without discrimination, a doctrinaire.
    Nowhere does the OED definition state that the pedant is actually wrong, merely misguided.
    I think the daftness about split infinitives and so on was introduced by pedants who meet the "possessed by a theory" bit of the definition above. They do seem to have had quite a lasting effect, but their little affectations have now been judged worthless. Maybe the "Edgeworth-Kuiper" affectation will be judged worthwhile ... we'll just need to wait and see how it turns out.

    Grant Hutchison

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    How about we just call it something else altogether, perhaps the "outer belt" or something? We don't call a certain type of math "Newton-Leibniz calculus" so I'd prefer just dropping Edgeworth-Kuiper rather than adding Edgeworth.

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    Additionally, the "Kuiper Cliff" sounds much better than "Edgeworth Cliff."

    LOL!
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriangleMan
    How about we just call it something else altogether, perhaps the "outer belt" or something? We don't call a certain type of math "Newton-Leibniz calculus" so I'd prefer just dropping Edgeworth-Kuiper rather than adding Edgeworth.
    I agree--if we had a name for those objects. We have the "asteroid belt" so we should also have the "icy dwarf belt" or whatever they end

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    I've been fairly careful about the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt after learning of Edgeworth's contribution. In fact, I added it to my favorite mnemonic:

    Mother Very Easily Made A Jelly Sandwich Using No Peanuts, Eggs, Ketchup, Bacon Or Cheese.

    Mother = Mercury
    Very = Venus
    Easily = Earth
    Made = Mars
    A = Asteroids
    Jelly = Jupiter
    Sandwich = Saturn
    Using = Uranus
    No = Neptune
    Peanuts = Pluto
    Eggs, Ketchup, Bacon = Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt
    Or Cheese = Oort Cloud

    Don't know how I'll incorporate Xena and Sedna into the mix.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality
    This whole thing smacks of pedantry. OK, I can understand people being picky about credit when they're alive, but when they're long dead, I think culture has the right to decide for itself what the final names for their discoveries should be.
    OK, now that Clyde Tombaugh is dead, Crimson shall henceforth be known as Pluto's discoverer. Anyone who complains that Crimson was not yet alive in 1930 is merely being pedantic.

    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison
    I think Edgeworth deserves credit. If enough people agree and keep using his name, then the common usage will change.
    Yes. Furthermore, the term for that region only came into common use during the 1990s--so it's not like it's been around so long that it can't be changed. In addition, a search on "Edgeworth-Kuiper belt" turns up thousands of web pages. So this is hardly a Crimson innovation.

    Finally, think how much easier it will be for kids to remember that something near the edge of the solar system is named the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt!

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    OK, now that Clyde Tombaugh is dead, Crimson shall henceforth be known as Pluto's discoverer. Anyone who complains that Crimson was not yet alive in 1930 is merely being pedantic.
    Sorry but no. Whatever we decide to name Pluto, whether it remains a planet or gets a number in front of it, won't change the fact that Clyde Tombaugh discovered it. The same is true of the Kuiper belt. Edgeworth will get his credit, but the name will be that chosen by posterity. I once saw an article that insisted that the United States of America be renamed "Cabotia", in honour of the first European to actually land there, John Cabot. After all, why should Amerigo Vespucci receive credit he doesn't deserve?
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

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    Let's call it the Trans-Neptunian belt.

    But on the other hand, the term "trans-Neptunian object" isn't same as "Kuiper belt object"...

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    I see no good reason to shorten the name of the Leonard-Edgeworth-Kuiper-Cameron-Whipple-Fernandez Belt.
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celestial Mechanic
    Mother Very Easily Made A Jelly Sandwich Using No Peanuts, Eggs, Ketchup, Bacon Or Cheese.

    Mother = Mercury
    Very = Venus
    Easily = Earth
    Made = Mars
    A = Asteroids
    Jelly = Jupiter
    Sandwich = Saturn
    Using = Uranus
    No = Neptune
    Peanuts = Pluto
    Eggs, Ketchup, Bacon = Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt
    Or Cheese = Oort Cloud

    Don't know how I'll incorporate Xena and Sedna into the mix.
    Oh, thanks a lot. I learned the planet/belt/cloud order long before I heard of the mnemonic. In fact, the only way I can hope to remember the "mother" mnemonic is by starting with the planet names as sort of an anti-mnemonic. But now you've confused my poor brain with these new details, and I doubt I'll be able to reconstruct the mnemonic again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celestial Mechanic
    Don't know how I'll incorporate Xena and Sedna into the mix.
    Mother Very Easily Made A Jelly Sandwich Using No Peanuts, Eggs, Ketchup, Bacon, & Xtra Strong Orla Cheese. [? ]

    I did not realize pedantic is a pejorative term. What is the nicer term...didactic? [Shoot, I must make an effort to be less pedantic. ]

    Closer to topic...Edgewort & Kuiper reminds me of the Tyndal & Rayleigh scattering credit debate. They both deserve credit, but in the end, I suppose, it is a matter of degree. Who really made the idea fly?

    Then there is the palatable element. Herschel had presented a great name for the 7th planet, which he discovered. But nope, about 40 years later it was decided it should be called...Uranus. [Is that when graphical t-shirts were invented. ] [Naming Uranus was a political issue.]

    "Kuiper" sounds kooler than Edgewort. But, if significant strides took place on his account, or if he broke thick ice with a novel idea, he deserves credit.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Or to throw more fuel in -

    Wavelength shifts of radiation seen when there is line-of-sight relative motion of source and observer. Doppler or Fizeau?

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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    I did not realize pedantic is a pejorative term. What is the nicer term...didactic?
    Tarred with the same brush, I'm afraid. Both of them started off meaning simply "after the manner of a schoolteacher": it's a shame that nowadays being compared to a schoolteacher is considered insulting. But the educationalists at my local university are nowadays always condemning "didactic approaches to learning".

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison
    ...But the educationalists at my local university are nowadays always condemning "didactic approaches to learning".
    So what word do they recommend we use for the communication style of getting at the "nitty gritty"/"whole enchilada"/"whole nine yards"/"360 perspective" (yet, free of insult)? Am I to call you astronomical articulators? I hope not, that's a mouthful.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngc3314
    Or to throw more fuel in -

    Wavelength shifts of radiation seen when there is line-of-sight relative motion of source and observer. Doppler or Fizeau?
    I have seen it as the Doppler-Fitzeau effect, but not very often around here. Where is the Palatability Committee when you need them?

    Too bad there isn't some large contingent of people who have signficant diversification of experiences and education necessary to make palatable recommendations, and aren't that shy with their opinions.

    Combining names doesn't always work. The Dopzeau Effect is easier, but a little obtrusive.

    [That reminds me...Friday's joke [but true story]....Our largest employer is H.E.B. Grocery. Terrific company and founder...Henry E. Butt. When I was a kid, the competition was Piggly Wiggly. There were no talks of a merger. ]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    So what word do they recommend we use for the communication style of getting at the "nitty gritty" ...
    I get the impression it's regarded as passé and undesirable. "Didactic" is about as good as it gets.
    I worked for a while in the 80s at McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, (something of a world leader in medical education) and there they deliberately selected tutorial "facilitators" so that they knew as little as possible about the tutorial topic, to avoid any didacticism taking place. Students performed their own research and reported to the group, and the facilitator pretty much just kept discussion on line and on time.

    Grant Hutchison

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    hey, i had a social studies "teacher" who didn't know anything about social studies. he just had us read from the book, and once in a while would attempt to get a discussions started about something he thought was interesting.
    he also got really mad at me a few times for pointing out that the book was outdated by current events- you know, the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin wall and all that kind of stuff that was going on in the world around that time that he didn't know anything about...
    he was, in reality, just a football coach. but in our district, all the coaches had to be teachers...
    and they all wondered why i dropped out. i was sick of not being paid to teach the classes.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison
    I get the impression it's regarded as passé and undesirable. "Didactic" is about as good as it gets.
    I worked for a while in the 80s at McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, (something of a world leader in medical education) and there they deliberately selected tutorial "facilitators" so that they knew as little as possible about the tutorial topic, to avoid any didacticism taking place. Students performed their own research and reported to the group, and the facilitator pretty much just kept discussion on line and on time.
    Surely there are words, if just one, that accurately describes someone who is engaged in careful, refined, detailed and respectful discourse. This is not an open and encouraged style in all academics? They've got "grandiloquence", what more need they? I want my pedantry term back the way I understood it. [Becoming a pedantic, admittedly a closet pedantic, was a goal of mine. ]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Surely there are words, if just one, that accurately describes someone who is engaged in careful, refined, detailed and respectful discourse.
    Hmmmm.
    Pedagogue is another "teacher" word that has now become derogatory, as well as introducing the possibility of being beaten up by illiterate folk who mistake you for a paedophile.
    Educator still has positive connotations, I think.
    Instructor seems like it doesn't have the intellectual clout you're aiming for.
    Pundit was a fine, respectful word, until it became degraded by association with "political pundits" on the TV news.
    But maybe we could borrow some other foreign word that hasn't yet lost its respectful connotations by spending too long in English usage: sensei or umfundisi might fit the bill.
    Any help?

    Grant Hutchison

    PS: I'd go for sensei, myself, apart from having a certain unease that it's become too inextricably linked to martial-arts instructors in English usage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison
    Hmmmm.
    Pedagogue is another "teacher" word that has now become derogatory, as well as introducing the possibility of being beaten up by illiterate folk who mistake you for a paedophile.
    Educator still has positive connotations, I think.
    Instructor seems like it doesn't have the intellectual clout you're aiming for.
    Pundit was a fine, respectful word, until it became degraded by association with "political pundits" on the TV news.
    Ug. This is deteriorating news. Surely we can exploit the English language and produce, with our intercourse, words which have not been stained by literary thieves. Ok, maybe that wasn't phrased perfectly. ug.

    But maybe we could borrow some other foreign word that hasn't yet lost its respectful connotations by spending too long in English usage: sensei or umfundisi might fit the bill.
    Any help?
    Yes. "Sensei" has a very deep root in "sense". The word thieves will be hard pressed to break in and twist it. But what do you call a user of sensei, a sensor? That won't work.

    As for Umfundisi? Was it Livingston who first met them? Probably not functional for our use.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Yes. "Sensei" has a very deep root in "sense". The word thieves will be hard pressed to break in and twist it. But what do you call a user of sensei, a sensor?
    Sensei is just the word for a respected teacher, in Japanese.

    Quote Originally Posted by George
    As for Umfundisi? Was it Livingston who first met them? Probably not functional for our use.
    It's the word for a teacher in Zulu, and a respectful form of address to someone wise and informative; I think it has reasonable currency in South Africa, but maybe not elsewhere.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison
    Sensei is just the word for a respected teacher, in Japanese.
    Arigatou. I still like it, somewhat. It needs tweaking for our use. Senseium, senseium, sensium; "the two were engaged in a sensium debate",... "in a sensible sensium debate". How about a culture attack?: "a senseless sensium dispute". Did I hear a sneeze?

    What if we engage in counter theft? Bulcrup, bulcrip, bulcrop, bilcra, bulcra.... bulkra? Seems a little strong, I suppose.

    Or maybe we modify some untarnished words...intelium, intelum, intelly, intilum, intrum, intram, intilit, intolit (nope), intum, intyct, intom, intum (hmmm). Intum (intelligent forum combo). "As an intumer, she resolved the misunderstanding", "The intum was appreciated by all".

    Intumesce is latin for "expanding". An intum would be related because of resulting cognitive expansion, I suppose.

    [Based on my English grades, however, this post should be deleted for all time. ]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngc3314
    [snip]

    Some days I think that whatever it is in astronomy, we ought to just call it the Zwicky whatever and be done with it...
    This is absolutely delightful ngc3314!

    I'm even tempted to make it my sig (would you mind? I'd give credit!).

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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Closer to topic...Edgeworth & Kuiper reminds me of the Tyndall & Rayleigh scattering credit debate. They both deserve credit, but in the end, I suppose, it is a matter of degree. Who really made the idea fly?
    It's an anti-Irish conspiracy, I tells ya. Our guys never get the credit they deserve!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eroica
    It's an anti-Irish conspiracy, I tells ya. Our guys never get the credit they deserve!
    I had a hunch this might bring you in.

    [Added: How dare they diminish the greatness of John Tyndall! Btw, sorry I misspelled his name . Seriously, it still surprises me that his work produced two major equations, both with 4th power terms (Stefan-Boltzman and Rayleigh-Tyndall scattering). It would be nice to unite these two equations.]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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