[plt-scheme] Why "lambda"?

From: Todd O'Bryan (toddobryan at gmail.com)
Date: Tue May 26 12:46:01 EDT 2009

On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 12:38 PM, Prabhakar Ragde <plragde at uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
> Dave Herman wrote:
>>> Does anyone know if Church had anything in mind for lambda to stand
>>> > for, or was it just an arbitrary choice?
>> page 7:
>> http://www-maths.swan.ac.uk/staff/jrh/papers/JRHHislamWeb.pdf
>> page 182:
>> http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=
> From the second reference:
>> Church originally intended to use the notation xˆ .2x+1. The typesetter
>> could
>> not position the hat on top of the x
> This I do not believe. A typesetter for a journal of mathematics in the
> 1930's could not typeset x^? (Heh, Thunderbird appears unable to. Let's try
> again: ˆx.)
> What I read somewhere (I cannot find it at this moment) was that the hat was
> moved to before the x (as the first reference above confirms, to distinguish
> function-abstraction from class-abstraction), but that it was then made
> larger for visibility, using an upper-case lambda, which looks like an
> upside-down V. But that looked too much like a capital A, so they went with
> lower-case lambda. --PR
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