5

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".

  • 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 '18 at 5:14
  • 2
    I suspect this is off-topic – Joseph Wright Aug 20 '18 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 '18 at 7:23
  • 4
    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 '18 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 '18 at 9:32
6

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.

  • 1
    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. :-) – ShreevatsaR Aug 20 '18 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 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. – ShreevatsaR Aug 22 at 17:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.