The Thomas Theorem and The Matthew Hfed?

Robert Meri'on, Harriet Zuckerman, Robert Merton, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, David Sills, Stephen Stigler
1995 Social Forces   unpublished
Eponymy in science is the practice of affixing the names of scientists to what they have discovered or are believed to have discovered,' as with Boyle's Law, Halley's comet, Fourier's transform, Planck's constant, the Rorschach test, the Gini coefficient, and the Thomas theorem This article can be read from various sociological perspectives? Most specifically , it records an epistolary episode in the sociointellectual history of what has ' The definition of epw includes the cautionary phrase,
more » ... autionary phrase, "or are belkved to have discovered," in order to take due note of "Stigkr's Law of Eponymy" which in its strongest and "simplest form is this: 'No scientific discovery is named after its original discovereV (Stigler 1980). Stigler's study of what is generally known as "the normal distribution" or "the Gaussian distribution" as a case in point of his ixonicaBy self-exemplifying eponymous law is based in part on its eponymous appearance in 80 textbooks of statistics, from 1816 to 1976. 2 As will become evident, this discursive composite of archival d ccuments, biography of a sociological idea, and analysis of social mechanisms involved in the diffusion of that idea departs from the tidy format that has come to be p&bed for the scientific paper. This is by design and with the indulgent consent of the editor of Social Forces. But then, that only speaks for a continuing largeness of spirit of its editorial policy which, back in 1934, allowed the ironic phrase "enlightened Boojum of Positivism" (with its allusion to Lewis Carroll's immortal The Hunting of the &ark) to appear in my very fist article, published in this journal better than 60 Y-ago. + I am indebted, once again, to