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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)
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    $\begingroup$ Does Nicolas Bourbaki qualify? $\endgroup$ – Andrey Rekalo Nov 7 '10 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ I think you will find some answers at mathoverflow.net/users . $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg Nov 7 '10 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ @darij: Indeed! I never knew Bugs Bunny had such a fondness for algebra and geometry. $\endgroup$ – Thierry Zell Nov 8 '10 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ Along the lines of Bourbaki, there's also Jet Nestruev. $\endgroup$ – bhwang Nov 8 '10 at 5:39
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    $\begingroup$ 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 math.upenn.edu/~wilf/website/dek.pdf) $\endgroup$ – Moshe Schwartz Nov 8 '10 at 7:56

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The review by E Reich of I J Good and K Caj Doog, A paradox concerning rate of information, MR 19, 1245h, informs us that "The name of the second author is understood to be a pseudonym."

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    $\begingroup$ From Jack Good, Good Thinking (1983, pp. 321, 281, 35, 24): “Good’s alter ego”, “introduced as a joint author to justify the use of “we” in a publication.” “Doog is the guy who spells everything backwards.” “In the spoken version of this paper I named my position after “the Tibetan Lama K. Caj Doog,” and I called my position “Doogian” (...) “Bayesian” is misleading, and “Goodian” or “Good” is absurd.” $\endgroup$ – Francois Ziegler Sep 19 '19 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ Clickable link: MR 19, 1245h. $\endgroup$ – LSpice Jan 4 at 15:28
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Another find on MathSciNet. Dominique Descotes, Genese des corollaires 1 et 2 de la lettre à Carcavy de Blaise Pascal, MR 99g:01016, review by Craig Fraser: In December of 1658 Blaise Pascal began to publish under the pseudonym A Dettonville the mathematical work Lettres de A Dettonville.... According to C B Boyer, "the name Amos Dettonville was an anagram of Louis de Montalte, the pseudonym used [by Pascal] in the Lettres provinciales."

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Pytheas N. Fogg is a collective of several authors including Valérie Berthé, Sébastien Ferenczi, Christian Mauduit, Anne Siegel and others - Review of J. P. Allouche of

Pytheas Fogg, N. (ed.); Berthé, Valérie (ed.); Ferenczi, Sébastien (ed.); Mauduit, Christian (ed.); Siegel, A. (ed.), Substitutions in dynamics, arithmetics and combinatorics, Lecture Notes in Mathematics. 1794. Berlin: Springer. xv, 402 p. EUR 57.95/net; sFr. 96.50; £ 40.50; $ 76.80 (2002). ZBL1014.11015.: "This collective book, published under the pseudonym N. Pytheas Fogg, based on courses given by the authors in several universities and during several summer schools".

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Andersen, Kirsti; Meyer, Henrik, Georg Mohr’s three books and the Gegenübung auf Compendium Euclidis Curiosi, Centaurus 28, 139-144 (1985). ZBL0571.01014. discusses the identity of J.D.S., author of "Gegenübung auf Compendium Euclidis Curiosi (1673)", and are convinced that it is not (as assumed by Bierens de Haan) a pseudonym of Georg Mohr (hence, the real identity seems still open).

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Gohierre de Longchamps used the pseudonym Elgé for publications in Journal de mathématiques élémentaires and Journal de mathématiques spéciales of which he was editor, see

Lazzeri, G., Gastone Gohierre de Longchamps, Periodico di Mat. (3) 4, 53-59 (1906). ZBL37.0031.04.

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"Mathematician" might be a slight stretch, but math-related and of real-world significance: no one has yet figured out who Satoshi Nakamoto is.

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In addition to K.M.S. Humak mentioned earlier (which encodes "Kollektiv Mathematische Statistik: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin und Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR"), Helga Bunke had a long-term career in literature under her maiden name Helga Königsdorf.

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Does Plato count? (No pun entirely intended.)

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    $\begingroup$ I don't follow. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Nov 7 '10 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael, his real name being ...? $\endgroup$ – David Roberts Nov 7 '10 at 23:26
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    $\begingroup$ Aristocles according to Wikipedia's article about him. I don't know if I knew that, but I've been familiar with the nickname meaning "broad-shouldered" or something like that for a long time. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Nov 8 '10 at 1:57
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    $\begingroup$ Who considers Plato a mathematician, and on what grounds? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 8 '10 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: One person who considers Plato a mathematician put the assertion into the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article about him. It's in more than one place in the article and maybe more than one person put it there. You can look at the edit history, and maybe even find out the actual identities of those who did that. My uncertainty about the "grounds" you asked about was why I phrased my answer as a question. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Nov 8 '10 at 13:40
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According to Daniel Lazard, in his review of Berenstein and Struppa, Recent improvements in the complexity of the effective nullstellensatz, MR 92m:13024, N Fitchas was a pseudonym for a working group led by J Heintz that got results on the membership problem and the representation problem.

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Volume 1 of Statistical Methods of Model Building, edited by Helga Bunke and Olaf Bunke, was first published under the pseudonym of K M S Humak. See the review by J Kleffe, MR 88d:62121. See also MR 86b:62002.

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Noaï Fitchas was a pseudonym for the group of Joos Heintz and his students Leandro Caniglia, Guillermo Cortiñas, Silvia Danón, Teresa Krick, and Pablo Solernó.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I mentioned that here on 9 November 2010. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jun 19 '12 at 1:01
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    $\begingroup$ I thought I carefully checked that it had not been mentioned earlier... Sorry for my mistake! $\endgroup$ – Bruno Jun 19 '12 at 7:50
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Endre Weiszfeld, a childhood friend of Erdős, changed his name to Andrew Vázsonyi to escape persecution as a Jew. But much later, he also used the alias Zepartzatt Gozinto, at least for this book review. The story goes that the name arose when he made a joke in a talk and George Dantzig misheard it.

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Levi Ben Gershon (1288-1344) (see also here) is commonly known to us as the RaLBa"G. Again, this is a nickname rather than a pseudonym- RLBG = "Rabbi Levi Ben Gershon", much in the same way as Shah Rikh Khan is known as SRK.

He wrote three mathematics books including Maaseh Hoshev, which "... is notable for its early use of proof by mathematical induction, and pioneering work in combinatorics. "

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    $\begingroup$ An abbreviation is not a pseudonym. He wrote his works under his real name; RaLBa"G is how others refer to him, but did he ever use that? $\endgroup$ – Robert Israel May 27 '16 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ He may have written his works under the Latinization of his name, Gersonides. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson May 29 '16 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ Is the quote mark in RaLBa"G literally a quote mark, or some sort of diacritic? $\endgroup$ – LSpice Jan 4 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ @LSpice The quotation mark "gershayim" indicates an acronym. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gershayim $\endgroup$ – Daniel Moskovich Jan 5 at 9:53
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