By Jackie at Namesplash
As a recent biology grad, I have many an idol in the field. Would I deliberately name my child after one of them? Doubtful, but there is certainly a wide variety of wonderful names to choose from!
Charles Darwin- (Shown in illustration) English naturalist most notable for his contribution to evolution theory. Charles is a classic on the upswing, and Darwin is quirky yet dapper.
James Watson- One of the first, along with Crick, Franklin, and Maurice Wilkins, to recognize the double helical structure of DNA. I can’t see sweet and sophisticated James ever going out of style.Watson would make an interesting choice for the daring namer, and would fit in with popular surname names.
Francis Crick- Collaborated with Watson in the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA.Francis is dated, but could be usable, considering the vintage trend. I cannot bring myself to advocate for naming a child Crick!
Rosalind Franklin- An X-ray crystallographer whose X-ray diffraction images led Watson and Crick to their realization of the structure of DNA. Franklin died at the age of 37, and therefore did not share in the Nobel Prize awarded for the work. Her contribution to the discovery and status as a pioneering figure for young women in science continue to be recognized nonetheless. Rosalind would be a beautiful, sophisticated vintage choice. Franklin may be so old it’s new again.
Carl Linnaeus- (Also Carolus Linnaeus and Carl Von Linne) Known as the father of modern taxonomy. Carl is clean and simple; Linnaeus might be a bit out there. The female name Linnea, however, comes from the genus name for the twinflower, which is named for Linnaeus himself.Linnaea would be a usable alternate spelling.
Thomas Huxley- An English biologist nicknamed “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his public support of Darwin’s ideas. Thomas is a great classic, and Huxley would make a unique, modern choice, with Huck as a potential nickname.
Gregor Mendel- The “father of modern genetics,” Mendel is best known for discovering the laws of inheritance by studying pea plants. I find Gregor to be a darling international option. Mendel would be an unusual and very obvious reference.
Elizabeth Blackburn- A molecular biologist who has made important contributions to the study of telomeres and the telomerase enzyme. You can never go wrong with a sophisticated classic likeElizabeth, and it has such a great variety of nicknames!
Frederick Sanger– The winner of two Nobel Prizes, Sanger made important strides in the areas of protein structure and DNA sequencing. While Frederick is a handsome choice, Sanger is a bit much for me. But hey, there were 7 Sadler’s, 8 Satchel’s, and 7 Sender’s born last year, so maybe Sanger will appeal to someone.
Kary Mullis A major contributor to the improvement of the polymerase chain reaction, an important method for amplifying DNA sequences. Both Kary and Mullis would make unique, potentially unisex choices.
Matthias Schleiden A German botanist best known for his contribution to cell theory, along with Theodor Schwann and Rudolph Virchow. I think Matthias is a very accessible international option. It’s off the grid and fairly rare in the USA, yet it’s stylish and on-trend. With its connection to Matthew, Matthias suits the ‘different, not weird’ criteria perfectly!
I do regret the lack of females on this list. Of course, the list is not comprehensive, and I hope that with these ladies paving the way, there will be even more wonderfully-named women to add in the years to come!
Feel free to add your own favorite biologist’s name to the list!
By Aimee Gedge
Recently, the hashtag #GrowingUpWithMyName has been trending on Twitter, enabling people with a gripe about their name to share it with the world. As a name enthusiast, I took interest in the types of names being complained about most, and thought I’d compile some of the most popular reasons. Expectant parents beware – if you’re going to try and avoid every pitfall on this list you will find your baby name list will get a lot shorter very quickly!
By Meagan, TulipByAny Name
Sesame Street has warmed our hearts since 1969 with its fun and educational program. We’re all familiar with Elmo and Ernie, two of the most lovable and recognizable Sesame Street characters, but here are some other great Muppet names to consider which you might not have thought of.
For those parents who may secretly like the sound of the top names but hate their popularity, I’ve created a list of alternative options to the Top 10 names for boys. The names may be similar in sound, syllables, initial letter, meaning, origin or a combination of those. None of the alternate names below rank on the SSA’s Top 1000 most popular names chart in 2014.
1. Noah —> Nahum
Nahum is the best alternative to Noah because it is also a biblical Hebrew name and it has a similar meaning. Noah means “rest, comfort” and Nahum means “comforter”. It starts with the same letter, has the same number of syllables and they’re both very vowel heavy. While Noah ranked at #1, Nahum sits nicely at #2076. Perfectly suitable to take Noah‘s place! Other options: Noam, Enoch, Jonah, Nolan
2. Liam —> Calum
Calum is a fun choice because it has the same ending sound as Liam and they both have Celtic roots with Liam being Irish and Calum being Scottish. Calum is a form of Columba, a Latin, saintly name meaning “dove”. While Calum ranked down at #2452 last year, it does have a slightly more popular brother, Callum, that ranks at #729. Both are still much less popular than Liam at #2! Other options: Alec, Leland, Noam, Willem
3. Mason —> Pierson
Mason is an occupational surname that refers to a stoneworker. What better alternative than a surname name referring to a rock? Pierson comes from the medieval name Piers which is a variant of Peter. Both of these names end with -son and they both come from Old French roots. Pierson is cool and unusual and the perfect uncommon alternative since it ranked way down at #1301 in 2014. Other options: Cason, Colson, Stetson, Thatcher
4. Jacob —> Javan
Jacob was the #1 name for many years only to begin its descent in 2013 when Noah took over. Javan has never even cracked the Top 1000, receiving only 52 births in 2014. Both 5-letter J-names are Hebrew but clearly have opposite popularities which makes Javan an interesting alternative to Jacob. Other options: Coby, Israel, Jaime, Séamus
5. William —> Bertram
This was a tough choice. In the end, Bertram has similar, appealing qualities to William. Both names are derived from Germanic elements and both end with -am. While William has Will, Bertram has Bert. Though Bert isn’t as fashionable as Will at the moment, there’s potential for it to come back and rank as well as it did in the 1920s. With barely 7 births last year, I find Bertram a handsome and truly rare alternative. Other options: Alaric, Edmund, Luther, Wilson
6. Ethan —> Japheth
These two names take us from a popular biblical name to a rare one. Ethan may rank at #6 now but it wasn’t always popular–it wasn’t even regularly used in the US until 1911. Ethan gradually increased in usage through the 1970s until it exploded onto the scene in 1989 and zoomed up the charts, ranking as high as Number 2 in 2009 and 2010. Japheth was unheard of until 1970 and has slowly gained a handful of usage today with 43 births in 2014. Could it follow Ethan‘s pattern and someday be discovered in a big way? Other options: Eben, Lathan, Ephraim, Irah
7. Michael —> Micaiah
These two biblical names sound similar enough to swap and still keep everyone happy. Michael has been hugely popular for a very long time; there are Mikes everywhere. However, Micaiah is relatively obscure. It has only been in use in the US since 1973. 2014 was its best year yet with 133 male births and a rank of #1311. There were also 41 female births. Other options: Melchoir, Mischa, Mitchell, Malcolm
8. Alexander —> Lysander
Alexander is a big, strong Greek name that has been used very well all around the world. Lysander is also a Greek name but it has a more tame and whimsical feel to it. Both end with “ander” which makes the rare Lysander a good alternative to the popular Alexander. It only had 43 male births in 2014 for a low, low ranking of #2764. Are you sold yet? Other options: Evander, Ferdinand, Constantine, Augustus
9. James —> Ramsey
Without featuring a variant of James or a translation in another language, I wanted to find something uncommon that sounded similar. This one was very tough, especially since we also featured James‘ twin brother Jacob earlier. I settled on Ramsey. They have a similar sound because of the “am” and “s” that should satisfy that quota, and they also have a potentially cool, bad boy vibe in common. Ramsey only had 93 births in 2014 for a ranking of #1649. Other options: Hayes, Ellis, Hamish, Thiago
10. Daniel —> Dashiell
These two names sound very similar. Dashiell would work very well as an alternative choice for those who love Daniel but cannot use it. Daniel has always ranked well in the US but Dashiell has only been used in the US since 1979. It has never ranked in the Top 1000 and had only 123 births in 2014. If you’re looking for unusual, Dashiell is it! Other options: Adriel, Uriel, Dane, Niall
What do you think of my choices? Would you choose different alternative names for any of these