In supermarkets in Zürich (and in other German-speaking parts of the world), aluminium foil is called “Aluminiumfolie” — fairly straightforward, certainly, but since the word “folie” means “madness” in French, every time I see this word, I can’t help thinking of a some kind of craze for aluminium that would justify a name like “aluminium madness”.

Similarly, the word “Art” in German does not mean what the spelling suggests (which is “die Kunst”); much more mundanely, it means “kind” as in “integral of the third kind” or “Stirling-Zahlen zweiter Art”. But, even more than for aluminium, whenever I read a title like

I can not help translating it as

A new art of non-holomorphic automorphic functions and the determination of Dirichlet series by functional equations

(this is the paper where Hans Maass first introduced what are now called Maass forms, and showed how these non-holomorphic modular forms could lead to Dirichlet series with functional equation related to *real* quadratic fields, in analogy with the case of imaginary quadratic fields where holomorphic forms occured — both are now understood as cases of “Langlands functoriality”).

Equally romantic is Emil Artin’s title

for the paper where he introduces what are now called Artin *L*-functions; translating it as “On a new art of *L*-functions” seems so much better than just “On a new kind of *L*-functions”…