The gamow bag was named after its inventor, Dr. Igor Gamow. Dr. Gamow originally designed a predecessor to the gamow bag called "The Bubble" for high altitude athletes which would produce more red blood cells to carry more oxygen to the muscles. This in turn would increase the athlete's abilities. However, this invention never really got off the ground despite glowing reviews. The equipment was deemed too bulky and susceptible to overheating.
Dr. Gamow did not give up though and re-designed 'The Bubble' into a bag that could be used by high altitude climbers.