Given the vast number of new papers / preprints that hit the internet everyday, one factor that may help papers stand out for a broader, though possibly more casual, audience is their title. This view was my motivation for asking this question almost 7 years ago (wow!), and it remains equally true today (those who subscribe to arXiv feeds, MO feeds, etc., may agree).
I was wondering if the MO-users would be willing to share their wisdom with me on what makes the title of a paper memorable for them; or perhaps just cite an example of title they find memorable?
This advice would be very helpful in helping me (and perhaps others) in designing better, more informative titles (not only for papers, but also for example, for MO questions).
One title that I find memorable is:
- Nineteen dubious ways to compute the exponential of a matrix, by Moler and van Loan.
The response to this question has been quite huge. So, what have I learned from it? A few things at least. Here is my summary of the obvious: Amongst the various "memorable" titles reported, some of the following are true:
- A title can be memorable, attractive, or even both (to oversimplify a bit);
- A title becomes truly memorable if the accompanying paper had memorable substance
- A title can be attractive even without having memorable material.
- To reach the broadest audience, attractive titles are good, though mathematicians might sometimes feel irritated by needlessly cute titles
- Titles that are bold, are usually short, have an element of surprise, but do not depart too much from the truth seems to be more attractive in general. 5.101 Mathematical succinctness might appeal to some people---but is perhaps not that memorable for me---so perhaps such titles are attractive, but maybe not memorable.
- If you are a bigshot, you can get away with pretty much any title!