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There is a lot of statistical criteria/tests (statistics) named after a statistician/mathematician/biologist/economist, etc. But for instance, this and this examples have different spelling...
Do I have to write an apostrophe after a surname in such a situation or not?

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  • Find what someone else wrote and use that.
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 4:26
  • Wilcoxon's Signed-Rank Test vs this
    – abc
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 11:29
  • An interesting case. There is a theorem that is often incorrectly written Stoke's Theorem. It should be Stokes' Theorem or Stokes's Theorem, since the man's name was Stokes.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 14:37
  • an example
    – abc
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 2:00

2 Answers 2

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There's an interesting discussion on this topic in Wikipedia talk.

Their conclusion:

I guess we just have to live with the fact that some theorems traditionally have apostrophes (Goedel's incompleteness theorem) and other's don't (Tietze extension theorem); it doesn't make sense to have a general rule of style there.

Go with tradition if you can find it, or with whatever manual of style you follow otherwise.

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It depends on how you refer to it, eg. "Fermat's last theorem" but "the Goldbach conjecture"

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  • 1
    The Goldbach conjecture is sometimes written as Goldbach's conjecture, but you'd never say, The Fermat's last theorem. (unless you were trying to distinguishing it from your cousin Fermat's theorem.
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 4:18
  • @Sam - yes if you wrote is as Goldbach's conjecture you would add the apostrophe. It was the first one I could think of that was generally "THE ....."
    – mgb
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 4:20
  • 2
    Doppler effect comes to mind. It would seem strange to say Doppler's effect. Ohm's Law, conversely, would sound funny as The Ohm Law.
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 4:37

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