9

What is the middle name of "Leslie B. Lamport", the initial developer of the document preparation system, LaTeX?

I'm interested to know what is the middle name of his full name?

I know the middle name of "Donald E. Knuth," is: "Ervin".

8
  • 2
    Leslie Lamport didn't bother to mention a middle name on his phd thesis. Seems the B. is not at all important to him.
    – Johannes_B
    Aug 20, 2018 at 5:14
  • 2
    I suspect this is off-topic
    – Joseph Wright
    Aug 20, 2018 at 6:51
  • 2
    @JosephWright I think it's not! The question is clearly related to LaTeX history. I found B. in his full name in some websites but I don't know really what is that stands for? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Lamport
    – Qaher
    Aug 20, 2018 at 7:23
  • 5
    The index of the TeXbook mentions “Lamport, Leslie B.”, which means that Leslie Lamport didn't reveal his middle name even to Donald Knuth, who's notoriously very fastidious in mentioning the full name of everybody he lists in indices (for instance, “Dull, Brutus Cyclops”).
    – egreg
    Aug 20, 2018 at 9:05
  • 4
    Leslie Lamport remained very modest and willingly answers the question asked from his personal website (I have already written to him and he answered me): lamport.org
    – AndréC
    Aug 20, 2018 at 9:32

1 Answer 1

9

Donald Knuth is notoriously fastidious about listing the full name of everyone he cites in his books. The index of the TeXbook has only a handful of names with abbreviations of names or middle names:

Bach, P. D. Q.
Justus, Paul E.
Lamport, Leslie B.
Llanfair, P. G.

The entry “Watson, John Amish, M.D.” doesn't count, of course. Note that the reference to Llanfair is a joke, whereas P. D. Q. Bach is a fictitious composer created by Peter Schickele. Paul E. Justus is the author of a single paper on IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication.

Apparently, Leslie Lamport didn't disclose his middle name even to Knuth.

5
  • 2
    The Art of Computer Programming often cites Floyd (as "Robert W. Floyd" etc). In the index, the entry is given as "Floyd, Robert W" (no fullstop/period): the reason is that the W doesn't stand for anything (so the index has written out the full middle name), while the main text uses "W." which according to Knuth is an abbreviation of "W" :-) (See here.) The case of "Lamport, Leslie B." isn't like this, from which we can infer that it is not true (or at least DEK doesn't know for a fact) that the "B" stands for itself. :-) Aug 20, 2018 at 22:07
  • @ShreevatsaR Floyd had his middle name "Willoughby" legally changed to "W" but deemed abbreviating it as "W." see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_W._Floyd#Notes. Why someone would want to have a middle name consisting of a single letter is beyond me.
    – nadder
    Aug 22, 2019 at 16:42
  • @nadder Oh that's interesting, thanks. Maybe wanted to preserve the initial for continuity but otherwise get rid of that middle name. Aug 22, 2019 at 17:15
  • 1
    @nadder -- The mathematician R H Bing had only initials. On certain forms he would have had to enter his name as "R<only> H<only> Bing". One of my former colleagues, himself a mathematician, always referred to him as "Ronly Honly". (Why Bing's parents wished this on him is unknown.) Mar 30, 2020 at 2:43
  • @barbarabeeton Interesting, and funny :)
    – nadder
    Apr 9, 2020 at 10:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .