Many mathematicians know that Lewis Carroll was quite a good mathematician, who wrote about logic (paradoxes) and determinants. He found an expansion formula, which bears his real name (Charles Lutwidge) Dodgson. Needless to say, L. Carroll was his pseudonym, used in literature.

Another (alive) mathematician writes under his real name and under a pseudonym (John B. Goode). (That person, by the way, is Bruno Poizat: it's no secret, even MathSciNet knows it.)

What other mathematicians (say dead ones) had a pseudonym, either within their mathematical activity, or in a parallel career ?

Of course, don't count people who changed name at some moment of their life because of marriage, persecution, conversion, and so on.

Edit. The answers and comments suggest that there are at least four categories of pseudonyms, which don't exhaust all situations.

  • Professional mathematicians, who did something outside of mathematics under a pseudonym (F. Hausdorff - Paul Mongré, E. Temple Bell - John Taine),
  • People doing mathematics under a pseudonym, and something else under their real name (Sophie Germain - M. Le Blanc, W. S. Gosset - Student)),
  • Professional mathematicians writing mathematics under both their real name and a pseudonym (B. Poizat - John B. Goode),
  • Collaborative pseudonyms (Bourbaki, Blanche Descartes)
  • 12
    Does Nicolas Bourbaki qualify? – Andrey Rekalo Nov 7 '10 at 18:00
  • 137
    I think you will find some answers at . – darij grinberg Nov 7 '10 at 20:46
  • 24
    @darij: Indeed! I never knew Bugs Bunny had such a fondness for algebra and geometry. – Thierry Zell Nov 8 '10 at 1:41
  • 4
    Along the lines of Bourbaki, there's also Jet Nestruev. – bhwang Nov 8 '10 at 5:39
  • 31
    Donald Knuth used the pseudonym Ursula N. Owens when submitting a paper to get more honest reviews. (As described by Wilf on page 3 of – Moshe Schwartz Nov 8 '10 at 7:56

72 Answers 72

Monsieur Antoine Auguste Le Blanc. (Sophie Germain, 1776–1831)

Sophie Germain hid behind the male pseudonym "M. Le Blanc" to study at the École Polytechnique and to be taken seriously in mail correspondence with other mathematicians, including Lagrange and Gauss.

William Sealy Gosset published a result under the pseudonym Student. (Because his employer, the Guinness brewing company, did not allow their employees to publish for fear of divulging trade secrets.)

  • 7
    Gosset published lots of papers under that same pseudonym. But that one early paper explains the terms "Student's distribution", "Student's t", "Studentized residual", "Studentized range" and probably some others. – Michael Hardy Nov 7 '10 at 19:45
  • 6
    The book "The Lady Tasting Tea" by David Salsburg explains: "Gosset wanted to publish this result in an appropriate journal. The Poisson distribution (or the formula for it) had been known for over 100 years, and attempts had been made in the past to find examples of it in real life ... in his yeast cell counts, Gosset had a clear example, along with an important application of the new idea of statistical distributions." (cont'd) – J. M. is not a mathematician Nov 8 '10 at 0:05
  • 6
    (cont'd) "However, it was against company policy to allow publications by its employees. A few years before, a master brewer from Guinness had written an article in which he revealed the secret components of one of their brewing processes. To avoid the further loss of such valuable company property, Guinness had forbidden its employees from publishing ... In 1906, Gosset convinced his employers that the new mathematical ideas were useful for a beer company and took a one-year leave of absence to study under (Karl) Pearson at the Galton Biometrical Laboratory." (cont'd) – J. M. is not a mathematician Nov 8 '10 at 0:07
  • 6
    (cont'd) "Two years before this, when Gosset described his results dealing with yeast, Pearson was eager to print it in his journal. They decided to publish the article using a pseudonym. This first discovery of Gosset's was published by an author identified only as 'Student.'" (cont'd) – J. M. is not a mathematician Nov 8 '10 at 0:09
  • 6
    (cont'd) "...There is an apocryphal story that the first time the Guinness family heard of this work occurred when Gosset died suddenly of a heart attack in 1937 and his mathematical friends approached the Guinness company to help pay the costs of printing his collected papers in a single volume. Whether this is true or not, it is clear from the memoirs of the American statistician Harold Hotelling ... that arrangements were made to meet him secretly, with all the aspects of a spy mystery. This suggests that the true identity of 'Student' was still a secret from the Guinness company." – J. M. is not a mathematician Nov 8 '10 at 0:10

Felix Hausdorff published philosophical and literary books as Paul Mongré.

Let me mention that Hausdorff committed suicide (along with his wife) in 1942, to prevent his being sent to a concentration camp. He had tried to escape to the US, but unfortunately no one would sponsor him. So he joined the ranks of mathematicians who were victims of World War II (including some Germans who died at Soviet hands, for example Gentzen).

  • 15
    In a sense, Gentzen's fate was opposite to Hausdorff's, though: he was a supporter of the Nazi regime. A pity, either way. – Greg Graviton Nov 7 '10 at 19:17
  • 18
    How can you compare the hangman and his victim? You do an inversion? It is not this way it works in real life. :-( – Patrick I-Z Dec 31 '10 at 10:45
  • 1
    Felix Hausdorff, his wife, and his wife's sister, committed suicide on 26 January 1942. In a letter to his friend Hans Wolstein, Hausdorff wrote about his suicide plan--Hausdorff parting words about the situation of Jews in the then Germany were: What has happened in recent months against the Jews evokes justified fear that they will not let us live to see a more bearable situation. ------ (See wikipedia, Felix Hausdorff). – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Sep 7 '14 at 6:52
  • 2
    @Yuval Filmus--Felix Hausdorff was not a victim of the US emigration process but because as a Jew he was persecuted by the Germany of 1930s. – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Sep 7 '14 at 8:22
  • 3
    @Greg Graviton--No, Hausdorff was NOT a supporter of Nazis (please, use pronouns responsibly). It seems that Gentzen was; Gentzen was a member of Nazi parties and organizations. I hope that Gentzen was only trapped by History, that he was not actively any monster. Except for Genzen's Nazi memberships (as repulsive as they were) I didn't read anything damaging about Gentzen. – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Sep 7 '14 at 8:33

G. W. Peck originally was the pseudonym of Ronald Graham, Douglas West, George B. Purdy, Paul Erdős, Fan Chung, and Daniel Kleitman. Since then G. W. Peck was the author of sixteen publications, most by Kleitman alone. See

Isaac Newton, in his dabblings in alchemy, called himself Jehovah Sanctus Unus.

  • 54
    More accurately Ieoua Sanctus Unus, which not only means God, unique and saint, but is also an anagram of Isaac Newton. – Denis Serre Nov 7 '10 at 21:04
  • 4
    @Denis: wait a second: how do you spell "Newton"? I have a couple of "u" and "s" left over... – Thierry Zell Nov 7 '10 at 22:10
  • 32
    @Thierry Zell: Isaacus Neutonus. See his entry in Vicipedia: – Willie Wong Nov 7 '10 at 22:19
  • 12
    It was hard for Newton to hide his identity - it was always easy to recognize the lion by his paw (Bernoulli and brachistochrone) :) – Harun Šiljak Nov 11 '10 at 8:18
  • 6
    I would translate ‘sanctus’ as ‘holy’, not as ‘saint’. But ‘unus’ may have been more important to Newton, who was (secretly) a unitarian. – Toby Bartels Sep 7 '14 at 7:32

Rainich=Rabinowitsch (of trick fame : cf. Nullstellensatz).

Here is an anecdote related by Bruce P. Palka, Editor of American Mathematical Monthly in Vol.111 (2004) of that journal (page460).

Rainich was giving a lecture in which he made use of a clever trick which he had discovered. Someone in the audience indignantly interrupted him pointing out that this was the famous Rabinowitsch trick and berating Rainich for claiming to have discovered it. Without a word Rainich turned to the blackboard, picked up the chalk, and wrote


He then put down the chalk, picked up an eraser and began erasing letters. When he was done what remained was

                   RA IN  I CH

He then went on with his lecture.

EDIT: There is some additional information (located by Sándor Kovács) to be found at We reproduce the relevant section below:

"Lance also contributes some new information to the saga of the elusive Mr. Rabinowitsch (see the Editor's Endnotes in the May 2004 issue): Poor Rabinowitsch, whoever he may be. The correct reference is: J. L. Rabinowitsch, "Zum Hilbertschen Nullstellensatz", Math. Ann. 102 (1930), p.520. In various places his first initial is either "A" or "S." On my trip to the library, I saw that Rainich had published in the Annalen under his own name and from Ann Arbor the previous year. Why a pseudonym?" The mystery deepens a bit in a biography of Rainich, where it's mentioned that he was born Rabinowitsch. On the same theme, Herman Roelants of Leuven, Belgium, points out that a Rabinowitsch anecdote similar to the one in the May 2004 MONTHLY is found on page 959 of the MONTHLY paper "Reminiscences of an Octagenarian Mathematican" by L. J. Mordell (November, 1971). Herman goes on to say that details concerning this source, together with references to important number-theoretic work of Rabinowitsch, can be found in the text and in a footnote on page 108 of Richard A. Mollin's book Quadratics (CRC Press, 1996).”

  • Dear Georges and Sandor, I have never known who Rabinowitsch was (although of course I know the trick!), and so I am very glad to have read this answer and the comments. Best wishes, Matt – Emerton Nov 7 '10 at 20:50
  • 5
    This was a permanent name change, not a pseudonym, no? – Gerry Myerson Nov 8 '10 at 11:00
  • 1
    Yes, Gerry, I think you are right – Georges Elencwajg Nov 8 '10 at 14:43
  • Interesting. See also this: (and the following page). – fherzig Nov 8 '10 at 18:52
  • 1
    Dear fherzig, thank you: I think that was the page I actually meant originally! – Georges Elencwajg Nov 8 '10 at 21:45

Siegel published The integer solutions of the equation $y^2=ax^n+bx^{n-1}+\cdots+k$, J London Math Soc 1 (1926) 66-68, under the pseudonym, X.

Anecdotal evidence of a non-pseudonym: Once when Littlewood attended an international conference in France, a French mathematician greeted him: “So there really is a Littlewood, and it is not just a pseudonym which G.H. Hardy uses to publish his poorer papers!”

  • 1
    I have read the exact same anecdote where it was Landau who thus greeted Littlewood. – Georges Elencwajg Nov 8 '10 at 22:14
  • 3
    Krantz, Mathematical Apocrypha, p. 45: It is said that Landau thought that "Littlewood" was a pseudonym for Hardy (so that it would not seem that Hardy was writing all the papers). Landau visited Cambridge, never saw Littlewood, and returned to Gottingen convinced that his theory was correct. No citation given. See also my next comment. – Gerry Myerson Nov 9 '10 at 3:29
  • 4
    Krantz, p. 44: It is said that when Wiener first met Littlewood he exclaimed, "Oh, so you really exist. I thought that 'Littlewood' was a name that Hardy put on his weaker papers." It should be noted that there are many variations of this story, some involving Landau instead of Wiener. [Krantz then gives the version quoted in my previous comment] – Gerry Myerson Nov 9 '10 at 3:32
  • 3
    "... Curiously enough, Littlewood was the more self-effacing of the two. Later on, when he visited Edmund Landau at Göttingen, that irrepresible spoiled child of mathematics said to him, «So you do exist! I thought you were merely a name used by Hardy for those papers which he didn't think were quite good enough to publish under his own name.»" -- Norbert Wiener in I am a Mathematician (page 24 of the copy I own). – José Hdz. Stgo. Feb 18 '12 at 22:58
  • 21
    In a similar vein, there is a joke: Why did Bourbaki stop writing textbooks? Because they discovered that Serge Lang is one person. – Robert Kucharczyk Mar 10 '12 at 13:17

Shalosh B. Ekhad, hmm, not sure if that's exactly a pseudonym but it sort of fits this discussion.

  • 8
    +1 ! It is borderline, but nice. According to Wikipedia: Doron Zeilberger is known for crediting his computer "Shalosh B. Ekhad" as a co-author ("Shalosh" and "Ekhad" mean "Three" and "One" in Hebrew respectively, referring to the ATT 3B1 model) – Denis Serre Mar 31 '11 at 6:13

Since some of those mentioned in other answers are among the living, let me also mention Victor Kac and his teacher Ernest Vinberg. They published a joint paper Spinors of 13-dimensional space in Advances in Mathematics 30 (1978) under the rather transparent pseudonyms V. Gatti and E. Viniberghi. As I recall, Victor said that this came about because he had applied for an exit visa from the USSR and was therefore not allowed to publish anything in the interim.

  • 5
    I take it "gatti" is the Italian word for "cats"? – Daniel McLaury Jan 3 '13 at 4:31
  • Yes, it is indeed. – Filippo Alberto Edoardo Sep 7 '14 at 6:37
  • It's so god that they didn't attempt to publish their paper in a Soviet journal. Mathematical manuscripts were vanishing when the political situation was not politically correct. – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Sep 7 '14 at 7:06

Maurizio Boyarski = Bernard Dwork. Even mathscinet knows about that. Does anyone know why Dwork published under a pseudonym?

Dwork, Bernard: On the Boyarsky principle. Amer. J. Math. 105 (1983)

Boyarsky, Maurizio: p-adic gamma functions and Dwork cohomology. Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 257 (1980)

  • 4
    Could be to be able to refer to his work by name without appearing too immodest? – José Figueroa-O'Farrill Nov 8 '10 at 19:12
  • 35
    Apparently Dwork wrote a not very flattering review of the paper (by Morita?) which introduced p-adic gamma functions. He later realized that these functions were important and relevant to his work and somehow was embarrassed to publish his results under his own name. – Felipe Voloch Nov 8 '10 at 19:16
  • 1
    @Felipe: I see; thanks for explaining! – fherzig Nov 9 '10 at 0:12
  • 12
    Cynthia Dwork told me that Boyarsky was her grandmother's (Bernard Dwork's mother) maiden name. She published a joint paper with her father in cryptography where he once again used the name Maurizio Boyarsky. – Victor Miller Nov 17 '10 at 16:43
  • 8
    @Keith Conrad: This may be 2 years late, but, Bernard Dwork's middle name was Morris, which is reasonably rendered into Italian (Dwork loved Italy, and even went to live there after being retired from Princeton) as Maurizio. – Victor Miller Sep 9 '13 at 18:09

Noga Alon published half a dozen papers under the name "A. Nilli". Mathscinet links directly from this pseudonym to Noga's publications.

  • I've heard (please correct me if you know better) that the A. Nilli papers have results that he wanted to disseminate, but didn't want attached to the excellent "Alon" brand name. If that's the case, I am uncertain about the ethicality of Mathscinet outing him. – Kevin O'Bryant Nov 8 '10 at 0:28
  • 9
    I don't think Noga was very serious about keeping it a secret, since he provided the photo of his daughter Nilli for Proofs from the Book. Nilli has the distinction of writing her first paper at the age of five ( – Richard Stanley Nov 8 '10 at 1:42
  • 3
    Indeed, I just took a look at "A. Nilli's" first paper from 1988, and her mailing address is given as "A. Nilli c/o N. Alon, Dept. of Math, Tel Aviv University". She also thanks N. Alon in the acknowledgments for helping her to write the paper :) – Ryan O'Donnell Nov 9 '10 at 14:25

A. Weil published two short papers/letters signed as X.X.X (Amer. J. Math. 79, 1957, 951-952) and R. Lipschitz (Ann. of Math. 69, 1959, 247-251) where he posed as an anonymous correspondent and the XIX century German mathematician residing in Hades respectively. Both letters are reprinted at the very end of the second volume of Weil's Collected papers.

  • 1
    André Weil was the author of the first article of Nicolas Bourbaki. Bourbaki N.: Sur un théoreme de Carathéodory et la mesure dans les espaces topologiques. C. R. Acad. sci. Paris 201 (1935), 1309-1311. Zbl 0013.15503 – Bruce Arnold Nov 7 '10 at 21:19

D. H. J. Polymath is a pseudonym for a collective of mathematicians (some of them may be not professional mathematicians).

The history of John Rainwater can be read at the following link: He has 10 published articles and several unpublished ones, by varying authors from the University of Washington. The same page also mentions in passing three other mathematical pseudonyms: P. Orno, M. G. Stanley, and H. C. Enoses.

John Rainwater came into existence at the University of Washington in 1952 when Nick Massey, a mathematics graduate student in Prof. Maynard Arsove's beginning real variables class, erroneously received a blank registration card. (In those years, each student filled out a card for every class, which first circulated among various tabulating clerks in the registrar's office before being sent to the professor.) He and a fellow graduate student, Sam Saunders, decided to use the card to enroll a fictional student, and since it was raining at the time, decided to call him "John Rainwater". They handed in John Rainwater's homework regularly, so it wasn't until after the first midterm exam that Prof. Arsove became aware of the deception. He took it well, even when he later opened an "exploding" fountain pen with John Rainwater's name engraved on it which had been left on the classroom table.


The first of John Rainwater's ten published research papers were written in 1958 and 1959 by John Isbell, a young Assistant Professor. Isbell's response to queries concerning his motivation for using J.R. as a pseudonym has been simply to quote Friedrich Schiller "Der Mensch ist nur da ganz Mensch, wo er spielt."
  • 1
    I was trying to remember the name of this example and couldn't; thanks! – Qiaochu Yuan Nov 7 '10 at 22:09
  • 2
    At the University of Washington, we've just donated the Collected Works of John Rainwater to the Mathematics Department Research Library, nicely leather bound. The pdf file will be publicly available soon, including Bob Phelp's four page description of Rainwater's life and work, part of which is excerpted above. – Douglas Lind Nov 26 '13 at 4:03
  • @DouglasLind, is the PDF available? – LSpice Oct 12 '17 at 22:18
  • 1
    @Lspice Haven't got it posted yet, but I can send you the PDF if you like. You can find my email at the University of Washington Math Department website. – Douglas Lind Oct 13 '17 at 2:12

At the height of fascist persecution of jews, Federigo Enriques penned some of his articles as Adriano Giovannini (reputedly coined from the names of his daughter Adriana and of his son Giovanni), as a device to circulate them. I was able to trace back to that pseudonym at least two papers: "Il pensiero di Galileo Galilei" and "L'errore nelle matematiche". As I understand it, that is to be considered a pseudonym used just in publications rather than a fully new name for real life, so I deemed the answer qualifying with regard to the question requirements.

Also, not being able to comment others' answers, I can add von Neumann as good example of the category depicted in Andreas' answer.

Heisuke Hironaka published a result on complex analysis in one variable (see Remmert's "Classical topics in complex function theory", chapter 5) in 1965 under the name Iss'sa. Apparently the name is a reference to a Japanese poet.

  • Ah! That's one of my favorite results in complex analysis. – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Nov 8 '10 at 6:45
  • 8
    From "The Mathematical Work of Heisuke Hironaka" : Under the pseudonym of Hej Iss’sa (Kobayashi Issa is a famous Japanese poet) Hironaka settled in 1966 (see H. Iss’sa, On the meromorphic function field of a Stein variety, Ann. of Math. (2) 83 (1966), 34–46) a long standing problem in the theory of Riemann surfaces. The story that I heard (which might be very garbled) is that Hironaka sent this in under a pseudonym, and the editor then picked Hironaka as a referee! – Victor Miller Nov 17 '10 at 16:45
  • 2
    Steve Shatz told me that HH told him that the material of the Iss'sa paper was not consistent with the unity and thrust of his other work. – Lubin Mar 30 '11 at 20:22
  • I am truly curious, why Issa? – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Sep 7 '14 at 7:17
  • I've searched up Iss'sa's theorem many times, after reading it in Remmert's book. I never knew it was a pseudonym--just thought it a weird name. – user78249 Feb 7 '17 at 3:43

I'm surprised that no one named Leonardo of Pisa, known as Fibonacci to us (though he didn't use this nickname, and its origin is not completely clear).

Al-Khoresmi is apparently a nickname as well (though this time used by the author), meaning his origin.

(Maybe not exactly an answer to the original question, because these are rather nicknames, not pseudonyms.)

  • 4
    I think that Leonardo da Pisa is the nickname (whose meaning is clear), while Fibonacci is his family name, being the contraction of "filius bonacci"="son of Bonacci". – Gian Maria Dall'Ara Nov 8 '10 at 16:05
  • 5
    If you mean by Al-Khoresmi "Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi" then I think he does not qualify. It was customary at the time to use geographic names of family origin as family name. This means that he had the name "Al-Khwarizmi" all his life and that his father, brothers and sons (if he had any) had the same name. – Hany Nov 8 '10 at 19:56
  • 5
    Few sidenotes: 1. Bearing the name Abu Jafar implies that he most probably had a son named Jafar. 2. drawing a line between first and family name in Oriental naming schemes is quite hard - so one can consider 'al-Khwarizmi' as just a part of his family name. 3. My experience tells me that most of people with 'geographic' family names get those when they move - i.e. I believe Al-Khwarizmi is not an exception in that case - family probably got the name when they moved to the south. This is a bit off-topic, but I couldn't help it. – Harun Šiljak Nov 8 '10 at 20:39
  • 1
    It was common in the early middle ages to identify people by their first name and home town, hence names like Leonardo of Pisa. In his time, the transition to using family names as we do today was under way. Fibonacci means "of the Bonacci family," not "son of Bonacci." (His father's name with Guglielmo). He also used the name Bigollo, which was truly a nickname. – Michael Renardy Mar 31 '11 at 10:13

Arthur L. Besse - after the round tables held at Besse in France. (The "L." is for Lancelot.)


From Wikipedia, Arthur Besse is a pseudonym chosen by a group of French differential geometers, led by Marcel Berger, following the model of Nicolas Bourbaki. A number of monographs have appeared under the name.

  • 2
    And who are the people forming Arthur Besse? – mathreader Apr 15 '14 at 4:57
  • 1
    According to the preface of "Einstein manifolds" [Ergebnisse der Mathematik und ihrer Grenzgebiete. 3. Folge, Bd. 10. Berlin etc.: Springer (1987; <a href="">Zbl 0613.53001</A>): Marcel Berger, Hermann Karcher, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Geneviève Averous, Nigel Hitchin, Jerry Kazdan, Pierre Pansu, Paul Gauduchon, Dennis DeTurck, Lionel Bérard-Bergery, Andrei Derdzinski, Josette Houillot, Norihito Koiso, Albert Polombo, John A. Thorpe, Jacques Lafontaine, Liane Valère. – Olaf Teschke Jan 1 at 20:46

The paper "Why You Cannot Even Hope to Use Gröbner Bases in Public-Key Cryptography? An Open Letter to a Scientist Who Failed and a Challenge to Those Who Have Not Yet Failed" by Boo Barkee , Julia Ecks , Theo Moriarty , R. F. Ree:

The lead author is Moss Sweedler. Boo Barkee was the name of his dog (so does this count as a pseudonym :-)?).

  • 21
    That would depend on how much the dog contributed to the paper. – Gerry Myerson Nov 17 '10 at 20:33
  • 8
    According to Moss "Boo Barkee revealed his love for mathematics when he licked a draft of the paper about SAGBI. (From “Subalgebra Analog to Gr¨obner Bases for Ideals”)" – Victor Miller Nov 18 '10 at 19:47
  • 37
    Moss told me that in searching for appropriate titles for papers written by Boo Barkee, he thought the best was "Marking trees in characteristic $p$". – Lubin Mar 30 '11 at 20:30

E. S. Pondiczery was a pseudonym used by R. P. Boas, Jr. in the paper Power problems in abstract spaces. The name became part of the well-known Hewitt-Marczewski-Pondiczery theorem.

Another pseudonym used by Boas (and F. Smithies) was H. Pétard. I highly recommend that you take a look at the hilarious Lion hunting and other mathematical pursuits (A collection of mathematics, verse, and stories by the late Ralph P. Boas, Jr.) for more information in this regard.

Added (Nov 7/2010). In that book you can also learn about other pseudonyms (for instance, Ian Stewart's one) and the memorable feud 'twixt Bourbaki and Boas.

Added (Nov 8/2010). According to page 10 of the aforementioned book, H. Pétard was in fact a pseudonym that Boas and Smithies made up for the use of E. S. Pondiczery.

  • H. Petard married Bourbaki's daughter Betti, right? And Blanche Descartes (I mentioned her/them above) wrote Hymne to Hymen on that occasion... Ah, the Poldevians. – Harun Šiljak Nov 7 '10 at 19:24
  • 1
    If my memory serves me well, you cand find the invitation to their wedding in the aforementioned recollection of stories. – José Hdz. Stgo. Nov 7 '10 at 19:41
  • It might be in the book, I found out about it from this post:… – Harun Šiljak Nov 7 '10 at 20:08
  • 1
    @HarunŠiljak The link is broken, this is a working alternative (for now). – Danu Dec 11 '16 at 10:29

Eric Temple Bell (known for Bell numbers, series, polynomials, as well as his book Men of mathematics) wrote sci-fi novels using pseudonym John Taine.

  • 9
    Some consider the book you named as a work of sci-fi as well (or at least bi-fi). – Ryan Reich Oct 29 '11 at 23:43

When it became dangerous for Jacques Feldbau to publish under this own (Jewish) name, he briefly wrote under the name Jacques Laboureur before being captured by the Nazis. See Weil's Souvenir d'apprentissage or the commetaries in his Collected papers. See also Une histoire de Jacques Feldbau by Michèle Audin, her article in the Images des Mathématiques and Jean Cerf's article in the Gazette.

Henri-Paul de Saint Gervais is a collective pseudonym of fifteen mathematicians who recently published a book, Uniformisation des surfaces de Riemann, retour sur un théorème centenaire, about the uniformization of Riemann surfaces. (presentation of the book, in French). They met in Saint-Gervais to work on the book, hence the lastname. The firstname, Henri-Paul, reminds of Henri Poincaré and Paul Koebe, of course! By the way, this book is highly recommended !

I'm not sure whether to count as pseudonyms the altered names that people took (often to avoid antisemitic prejudice) as replacements for their real names. For example, Alfred Tarski's last name was originally Tajtelbaum, and Edward Marczewski's last name was originally Szpilrajn. There must be lots of other examples of this sort.

  • Denis explicitly asked us not to count people who changed their name(s) because of persecution. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is to make a distinction between a permanent, official change of name and a temporary use of a pseudonym while keeping (or intending to return to) one's original name. If those are the rules, maybe Feldbau would count (see Chandan's answer), but not Tarski. Or maybe Denis would like to clarify. – Gerry Myerson Nov 8 '10 at 10:57
  • 5
    Imre Lakatos, who wasn't strictly speaking a mathematician, but not very far, was born Avrum Lipsitz. He changed definitely his name for a clear reason. I count him as a mathematician since his thesis "Proofs and Refutations" had a big influence on me, to help me understand the process of doing mathematics. – Patrick I-Z Dec 31 '10 at 10:56
  • 2
    Along the lines of altered names: D'Alembert was abandoned and adopted when he was an infant. But neither his birth parents nor his adoptive parents were named D'Alembert. He made up the name when he was a college student. – Michael Renardy Mar 31 '11 at 10:08
  • An anecdote (I hope that it's true :-) *** After WWII, during his lecture in Wrocław (Poland), Marczewski mentioned one of his old results. A Rusian visitor in the audience had objected: this is a Szpilrajn's theorem. The other older Polish mathematicians tried to explain that Szpilrajn and Marczewski is one and the same person. The visitor still disagreed: No way! Szpilrajn was murdered by Germans during WWII. Szpilrajn was a STRONG mathematician. – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Sep 7 '14 at 7:34

MR 23 #A2744 reads,

Schark, I. J.

Maximal ideals in an algebra of bounded analytic functions.

“I. J. Schark” is a pseudonym for the group: Irving Kaplansky, John Wermer, Shizuo Kakutani, R. Creighton Buck, Halsey Royden, Andrew Gleason, Richard Arens and Kenneth Hoffman. J. Math. Mech. 10 1961

In the 1980's there were a few papers by Bill Moran, William G. Hoover and Stronzo Bestiale; the most famous is If you read italian, it will be obvious for you that there is something wrong with the last name. There is a legend that the first two authors were so upset about the third co-author, that they replaced his true name with this one: see The paper went through the whole refereeing and publishing process!

Joseph Bernstein published a paper under the pseudonym "Yantarov" (which is derived from the Russian translation of the German word "Bernstein" which means "amber"). At the time of writing he was an "otkaznik", a person waiting for permission to emigrate from the USSR, and a paper under his own name would not be accepted.

  • 3
    Dennis Serre gave the Bloch example on 18 June. – Gerry Myerson Dec 8 '12 at 21:29
  • There is an actress named Amber Bernstein, – I wonder whether her parents knew they were naming her Amber Amber. – Gerry Myerson Oct 16 '17 at 11:52

"Smooth Manifolds and Observables" by Jet Nestruev.

The actual team of Authors: A. M. Astashev, A. V. Bocharov, S. V. Duzhin, A. B. Sossinsky, A. M. Vinogradov, M. M. Vinogradov

Springer-Verlag, Graduate Texts in Mathematics, vol. 220, 2002

A Russian answer to Bourbaki (see the preface to the book).

  • "Nestruev" loosely means "Non-streaming" in Russian, by the way... That is, we have a "non-streaming stream" for the name. – Dima Pasechnik Dec 8 '12 at 17:43

Hugo Steinhaus was also an author of aphorisms, which he published in the daily "Slowo Polskie" under a pseudonym Sestertius. Most were just goofy definitions of everyday terms. The following example seems to do OK in translation from Polish: "An opinion that all high-rank officers are stupid: a generalization". The book edition ("Slownik Racjonalny") appeared in 1980 (after his death) under his real name.

André Bloch was an active mathematician during his stay (1918-1948) in a psychiatric asylum. During WWII, he wrote under the pseudos René Binaud and Marcel Segond, to hide his Jewish name.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.