The Romans it seems had a Goddess of Rumour and her name was Fama. She repeated all that she heard – first in soft whispers and then in louder and louder tones till all heaven and earth knew. And its from her name that we get the word ‘Famous’. Its a bit odd that the word is more ‘famous’ than the goddess , but hey! that is the way of celebrity.

Consider the case of the Mann-Whitney U Test. (Okay. The only reason I considered it is because my paapi pet sort of depends on it.) Still, I ask you to consider the Mann-Whitney U Test. Now if you will go back to the deep dark days when you did Introductory Statistics and some stupid prof droned on about non-parametric methods and sign and rank tests? Ringing any bells? (other than the ones that woke you up when you slept through that class).

 Anyway, the test itself is not so important. Its Mann & Whitney that I want to talk about. In whatever limited way, Mann and Whitney got famous enough to have a statistic named after them and their name is in print in hundreds of research reports and thousands of text books and yet, I can’t find their first names. Sigh. What kind of fame is that?

But then again all of us know of Diana, Princess of Wales. Some of us may even remember her maiden name – Diana Spencer but how many of us remember her as Diana Windsor?!


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