I am not sure if this is the right place to ask or if I should head over to HSM (where they may object, too), anyhow:
What is the origin of the names of the Greeks? Who introduced those weird names, and why did they take over instead of other more conventional symbols?
In particular, what do people do when they have to use them in a formula, in practice? Us other real Greek or Latin letters instead of their names? Are there standard replacement letters? Why did these letter not take over the original names?