Wednesday 20 September 2023

Done Right

 Done Right

According to Hoyle, According to Cocker, nach Adam Riese.  There must be one in every language.  But who were they?  

In the US, and England, it’s according to Hoyle.   Some thought the Hoyle in question was Sir Fred Hoyle, who inadvertently coined the term “Big Bang” for the idea of the sudden expansion of a small point of matter/energy into a massive universe in less than a second.  Sir Fred didn’t buy it for a minute, and attacked the idea promoting his own “steady state universe” theory.  1949 The phrase "Big Bang" is created. Shortly after 6:30 am GMT on BBC's The Third Program, Fred Hoyle used the term in describing theories that contrasted with his own "continuous creation" model for the Universe. "...based on a theory that all the matter in the universe was created in one big bang ... ". *Mario Livio, Brilliant Blunders

Fred Hoyle held on to his belief until the discovery of background radiation.  He was a guy who held his ideas strong and hard, but he’s not the source of the expression, according to Hoyle.

That was another Englishmen, Edmond Hoyle.  Edmond Hoyle (1672 – 1769) was an English writer best known for his works on the rules and play of card games. The phrase "according to Hoyle" (meaning "strictly according to the rules") came into the language as a reflection of his generally perceived authority on the subject; since that time, use of the phrase has expanded into general use in situations in which a speaker wishes to indicate an appeal to a putative authority.

So what about this Cocker?   Here is what I found on a site called World Wide Words:

Something done according to Cocker was done properly, according to established rules or what was considered to be correct.

The etymological story starts in 1678, when John Hawkins published the manuscript of a book which Edward Cocker had left at his death two years earlier. Cocker had been the master of a grammar school in Southwark, across the Thames from the City of London, and Hawkins was his successor in the post.

 The book, after the fashion of the time, had an expansive title — Cocker’s Arithmetick: Being a Plain and familiar Method suitable to the meanest Capacity for the full understanding of that Incomparable Art, as it is now taught by the ablest School-masters in City and Country.

The Arithmetick (like musick and other words it has since lost its final letter) was an enormous success. It had reached its twentieth edition by 1700 and went through more than a hundred altogether. It was widely used to teach basic arithmetic in English schools for well over a century.“  

Benjamin Franklin' autobiography makes mention that he studied another common English translation, Cocker's Arithmetic, after he moved from his home to Pennsylvania, " And now it was that, being on some occasion made asham'd of my ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed in learning when at school, I took Cocker's book of Arithmetick, and went through the whole by myself with great ease.

According to Google N-gram viewer, between 1900 and 1990, the two expressions were about equally used, but seeming to switch in favor every ten years or so.  Then, around 1995, the Cocker phrase seemed to almost disappear, and the Hoyle quote dominated……. But..suddenly around 2016, it’s popularity roared back, and around 2019 they were nearly equal, with a slight edge to Cocker.  

And Nach Adam Riese, well he was a math man too, and even before Cocker.  He was born the year Columbus made his first voyage to what would come to be known as America.  He wrote a number of books in German for arithmetic and algebra, helping to spread the use of variable based mathematics.  His second book ran for 100 editions. And the expression, Das macht nach Adam Riese... (that gives according to Adam Ries) .  Unlike the other two, it is most often used in arithmetic.  A narrower field perhaps, but it has lasted about five hundred years. 

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