English grammar in physics

  • #1
Demystifier
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What is correct, Einstein equation or Einstein's equation? Newton law or Newton's law? Allegedly the correct answers are Einstein equation and Newton's law, but that doesn't seem logical to me. What is the general rule?
 
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  • #2
Nidum
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Grammatically should be

' the Einstein equation ' or ' Einstein's equation ' .

' the Newton laws ' or ' Newton's laws '

If referring to a specific law of the set then :

' the second Newton law ' or ' Newton's second law ' or ' the second of Newton's laws ' .
 
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  • #3
Demystifier
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Grammatically should be

' the Einstein equation ' or ' Einstein's equation ' .

' the Newton laws ' or ' Newton's laws '

If referring to a specific law of the set then :

' the second Newton law ' or ' Newton's second law ' or ' the second of Newton's laws ' .
Makes sense, but recently editors in Elsevier changed my "the Newton second law" into "the Newton’s second law". Are they wrong?
 
  • #4
Nidum
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Yes - they are wrong .

English grammar mostly works like mathematics .

The (second ( Newton's ( law ))) is not the same as The ( Newton's ( second ( law )))

The first construction means that you refer to Newton's laws and specifically to the second one . This is clear and correct .

The other construction actually means that you refer to second laws and specifically to Newton's one . At best bad grammar but in a more complex reference could cause multiple ambiguities .
 
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  • #5
mjc123
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recently editors in Elsevier changed my "the Newton second law" into "the Newton’s second law". Are they wrong?
Both look wrong to me. Either "Newton's second law" or "the second Newton law". The first is more usual. My impression is that custom dictates "Smith's law" and "the Smith equation", but I don't know if anyone has made this an official rule.
To me, "the second Newton law" implies the second of Newton's laws (as distinct from the first or third); "the Newton second law" implies Newton's second law, as opposed to anyone else's second law (e.g. Mr. Thermodynamics). Or even a law about a quantity with units of N s.
It is definitely bad grammar to put the definite article before an individual's proper name in the genitive. The only example I can immediately think of is "the Young's modulus", which is common usage.
 
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  • #6
Vanadium 50
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I just got back from a long argument about Green's Functions vs. Green Functions. I wonder what other colors they come in?
 
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PeroK
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I just got back from a long argument about Green's Functions vs. Green Functions. I wonder what other colors they come in?

Green's windmill:

upload_2017-6-10_15-8-10.jpeg


Green windmill:

upload_2017-6-10_15-8-42.jpeg
 
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