… the 1950’s were not good years for mathematical research. We had a very interesting gentleman in Washington … Secretary of Defense, and .. had a pathological fear and hatred of the word, research. not using the term lightly; … using it precisely. His face would suffuse, he would turn red, and .. get violent if people used the term, research, in his presence.
What title, what name, could I choose? In the ﬁrst place I was interested in planning, in decision making, in thinking. But planning, is not a good word for various reasons.
I decided therefore to use the word, ‘programming.’
I wanted to get across the idea that this was dynamic, this was multistage,…I thought, let’s … take a word that has an absolutely precise meaning, namely dynamic, in the classical physical sense. It also has a very interesting property as an adjective, and that is it’s impossible to use the word, dynamic, in a pejorative sense. Try thinking of some combination that will possibly give it a pejorative meaning.
It was something not even a Congressman could object to.
Richard Bellman, “Eye of the Hurricane: an autobiography”, 1984