Theorems are often named after who proved it.
The ones who conjectured it are often forgotten.

Mordell's conjecture was solved by Falting.
It is now called
Faltings' Theorem.

Vazsonyi's conjecture was solved by Joseph Kruskal.
It is now called
The Kruskal Tree Theorem.

Baudet's conjecture was solved by van der Waerden.
It is now called
van der Waerden's theorem .
Even though van der Waerden's original paper has as its title
(roughly translated) On a conjecture of Baudet, Baudet is
not well known.

Fermat's last theorem was solved by Wiles.
If you type Wiles into Wikipedia you get as options
Wiles Theorem which goes to a page whose web address is
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiles_theorem
but whose title on the page is
Fermat's Last Theorem.
This one may still be in transition from being someones conjecture
to someones theorem. It may be for a while. This one is so
tied to Fermat that it might always have his name on it somehow.
If you know of other examples please comment.Is it unfair that the original conjecturers are forgotten?
Alexander Soifer thinks so.
In his book
The Mathematical Coloring Book: Mathematics of Coloring and the Colorful
Life of its Creators
(reviewed in my latest
SIGACT NEWS
Book Review Column) he
suggests that we should name a theorem after
both
who conjectures it
and who solves it.
So what I call
Van der Waerden's Theorem
Soifer calls
The BaudetSchurVan der Waerden Theorem.
(Baudet is known to have conjectured it.
Soifer argues convincingly that Schur also conjectured it.)
Reading over van der Waerden's own account of how
the theorem was discovered
(included in Soifer's book) it seems to me that Artin contributed
some to the solution of Baudet's conjecture. If standards for coauthorship
were weaker then
he may have been a coauthor.
In this alternative universe
what I would call
The ArtinVan der Waerden Theorem
Soifer would call
The ArtinBaudetSchurVan der Waerden Theorem.
This is odd since you have proverconjecturerconjecturerprover
in the ordering. Perhaps another convention would arise.
Perhaps it would be called the ABSVtheorem or ABSWtheorem.
Perhaps we are better off, just for the sake of simplicity,
using just the prover's name. There have been some fierce
battles over who PROVED what. Do we really want to have
fierce battles over who CONJECTURED what? I conjecture
that we do not.

Posted By GASARCH to Computational Complexity at 8/14/2009 09:59:00 AM