The Quantum Pontiff

Does anyone know if any author has ever had a paper published in the entire alphabet of Physical Reviews? (A,B,C,D,E) And if not, doesn’t that sound like a fun task to try to achieve. OK, perhaps “fun” is the wrong word. Even better if you could carry out the task with alphabetical order corresponding to chronological order. Even better still would be if you could carry out the task with reverse alphabetical order corresponding to chronological order.


  1. #1 astephens
    May 22, 2008

    I have a feeling that my supervisor Lloyd Hollenberg has done it. I’ll ask him if it was fun.

  2. #2 Michael Nielsen
    May 22, 2008

    I seem to recall that Salman Habib has done it (and Letters). Not sure about RMP.

  3. #3 Steve Flammia
    May 22, 2008

    I would have guessed Habib as well. I remember asking this question once before (maybe with you, Michael), but I think I remember that he hasn’t published in PRC. Let’s hope he reads this blog so we can find out!

  4. #4 anthiny
    May 23, 2008

    >I seem to recall that Salman Habib has done it

    According to PROLA, he hasn’t published in PRC.

  5. #5 Richard Barnes
    May 23, 2008

    Yeah, I was wondering how Letters fits into this scheme. Perhaps if you could get A,B,C,D,E, *and* L, then you’d have the “sexfecta”? That sounds even more fun than a quintfecta.

  6. #6 John Preskill
    May 23, 2008

    Steve Koonin has all but E (ABCDL+RMP). Steve is now the Chief Scientist at BP, and has not published lately, so Salman seems to be a better candidate to complete the sexfeta.

  7. #7 John Preskill
    May 23, 2008

    It’s true about Lloyd Hollenberg! ABCDEL (but not RMP — does that matter?). Way to go, Lloyd. Also, Gerard Milburn has ABDEL+RMP. Many contenders are C-challenged, but Hollenberg did a two-loop computation of the omega-rho mass splitting in 1992.

  8. #8 John Preskill
    May 23, 2008

    A challenge for scrabble players: As far as I know, you can’t make a 5-letter word from the letters ABCDE. But when you add L (for Letters), then the 6-letter word “cabled” becomes possible. So should we say that Lloyd “cabled”? This can also be read as “cab-led”, meaning that Lloyd followed a taxi (as in “Lloyd was cab-led”) or that he occupied the first taxi in a convoy (“Lloyd cab-led his group”).

  9. #9 Dave Bacon
    May 23, 2008

    Alternatively we could say of the person that having achieved the sixfecta, that they are clad: “Lloyd be clad.”

    Worse we could just use ABCDE and then we could say “Lloyd be cad.” But that’s not very nice.

  10. #10 John Preskill
    May 23, 2008

    I wonder whether Lloyd’s stereo is cd-able.

  11. #11 Ian Durham
    May 23, 2008

    Clearly none of you have young children. If you did, you would know how to pronounce ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ and, thus by default, ABCDEF. The answer lies with Big Bird. My kids have recently grown out of the Sesame Street age so I have old Sesame Street CDs lying around if anyone wants them…

  12. #12 Joe Fitzsimons
    May 23, 2008

    So does that mean we should say that Gerard Milburn “blared”? As in “Physical Review ‘blared’ his results”.

  13. #13 Dave Bacon
    May 23, 2008

    Either that or he is “balder”…

  14. #14 John Preskill
    May 23, 2008

    I’m still just a lad.

  15. #15 Dave Bacon
    May 23, 2008

    You can all me al.

  16. #16 Michael Nielsen
    May 23, 2008

    la la la la!

  17. #17 Ian Durham
    May 24, 2008

    OK, no one took the bait. ABCDEF is, according to Big Bird, pronounced ab-c’-def.

  18. #18 Jonathan Vos Post
    May 24, 2008

    So now I have to memorize the pronunciation of ABCDEF as well as ScTiVCrMnFeCoNiCuZn and SJSUNEVMGTMCIMETEP*TRO*SIOQCUADT*CV*I*

    The acronym for these bodies, the 88 Largest Objects in the Solar System , in order of decreasing diameter, breaks down when names do not yet exist [*], but begins [Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, …] =


    This is hard to pronounce, although the substring: “CIMETEP” is pronouncible for Callisto, Io, Moon, Europa, Triton, Eris, Pluto.

    This is exactly the sort of thing about which Isaac Asimov used to write delightful essays.

    Of course, I find part of the Periodic Table to to prouncible, sort of:

    ScTiVCrMnFeCoNiCuZn is rendered as:
    Scatty Vickerman Feconey Cousin.

    So, kids, start memorizing “SJSUNEVMGTMCIMETEP…”
    because it WILL be on the final exam…

  19. #19 Jim Harrington
    June 9, 2008

    I came across the name of someone at Los Alamos who has achieved the quintfecta, plus a few Letters:

    Bogdan Mihalia.

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