Rebecca Kruskal (Martin's Granddaughter): Daddy, how come they are not called Kruskal Waves?
Clyde Kruskal (Martin's Son, Rebecca's Father): You can't name things after yourself.
Rebecca Kruskal: Why not?
Rebecca raises a good question. In academia the etiquette has evolved that you simply do not name things after yourself. Why is this? Is it a good thing? How did this tradition get started? Have people tried to name things after themselves? What happens in other endeavors?
On a related topic: if you are asked to give a list of the top items in your field then is it okay to list some of your own?
In THE NEW BOOK OF LISTS by Wallechinsky (spell check wanted me to change the name to Lewinsky) and Wallace they have several lists where an expert in X lists his favorite things in X. Some include their own work:
- Johnny Cash's 10 Favorite Country Songs of all Time includes his own I Walk the Line (at number 1) and Folsom Prison Blues (at number 4). To be fair, they are awesome songs!
- Oliver Stone's 12 Best Political Films of all Time actually lists 10 movies (films?) but then says Stone Notes: And two more with apologies: 11-12. JFK and Salvador. Because I never thought either could be made, much less be appreciated by a large audience. This strikes me as a good way of doing it- since 10 is the usual number on a list make it 12 and include two of your own and apologize for it. However, the movie JFK was way too long. The point of the movie was made more concisely here
- Federico Fellini's 10 All Time Favorite Films include his own 8 1/2 as number 10.
- Lucille Ball's 10 Favorite TV Series has as item 10 and of course I Love Lucy.
- Charles M. Schultz's 10 Greatest Cartoon Characters includes, at number 1, Charlies Brown and Snoopy.