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Category: science baby names



Nerdy Namesakes: Brilliant Biologists

posted by: Callmecalliope View all posts by this author
biology baby names

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!

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posted by: mill1020 View all posts by this author
space baby names

By Laura Miller Brennan

Are you a physics whiz who daydreams of soaring through Earth’s atmosphere?  Did you meet your spouse at a screening of Black Sky: The Race for Space?  Have you ever parked on the shoulder of a freeway to watch a shuttle landing?  If so, your youngster may need an aerospace name.  Here are a few uplifting options that are more accessible than Moon Unit.


Valentina Tereshkova:  She was the very first woman in orbit, floating aboard the Soviet capsule Vostok 6 in 1963.  Salma Hayek’s daughter has helped to re-launch this euphonious name, which is from the Latin Valens for “healthy, vigorous, strong.”

Camille Wardrop Alleyne:  Born in Trinidad, she worked as an aerospace engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense before rising to Assistant Program Scientist for the International Space Station (ISS) at NASA.  The elegant Camille has the added bonus of a trendy nickname—Milla.   See also: fellow NASA leader Ginger Kerrick, who has served as Flight Director of 13 ISS missions.

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posted by: mill1020 View all posts by this author

By Laura Miller Brennan

Everyone loves a freshly hatched word name or a fledgling celebrity baby name, and many of us appreciate names that stem from flowers, trees, and animals.  But for the true biophile, the bug-sketching natural philosopher or the biochemistry disciple who chops thale cress in the lab?  Here are some worthy tribute names for the lovers of the life sciences.


Rosalind (Rosalind Elsie Franklin): Rosalind Franklin was an X-ray crystallographer and unsung hero of molecular biology, and her diffraction patterns gave competitor-colleagues James Watson and Francis Crick crucial insight on the three-dimensional structure of DNA.  Her death at age 37 disqualified her for the 1962 Nobel Prize for Medicine.  The meaning of Rosalind is as prepossessing as Dr. Franklin’s acclaimed x-ray photographs—“pretty rose”.

Jane (Valerie Jane Morris Goodall):  Jane is a true classic, not only in the English-speaking world of names but also in conservation biology.  Goodall’s observations on chimpanzee behavior have done much to promote empathy toward animals.  The name of the childhood toy chimpanzee that inspired her enthusiasm for animals was Jubilee, and later, one of her favorite female chimps she dubbed Gremlin.  Gremlin may not be the next great classic for a baby girl, but other renowned conservationists with classic names will inspire: Helen Beatrix Potter and Rachel Carson.

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To commemorate this week’s International Women’s Day (we’re only a day late), we thought that this time we’d look not at creative artists or political figures, but at accomplished female scientists and mathematicians.  These range in time from the 4th century BC to the recent past, all of them women who had to overcome the cultural biases against females in their fields–all inspirational namesakes.  Brainy names for brainy babies!

And in the usual nameberry fashion, we’re not aiming to be comprehensive, but focusing as much on noteworthy names as on notable achievements.  So apologies to the many Marys, andMaries who don’t appear below..

ADA Lovelace, aka AUGUSTA Ada Byron – daughter of the poet, a mathematician who contributed to research that led to the modern computer.

ALESSANDRA Giliani –14th century Italian anatomist, reputedly the first person to use the injection of colored fluids to trace blood vessels.

AMALIE Emmy Noether – (known as EMMY) – did work relating to the general theory of relativity and ring theory.

ARTEMISIA, Queen of Caria (c. 300 BC), a botanist and medical researcher; the plant genis Artemisia is named for her.

CECILIA Payne-Gaposchkin– as a graduate student in 1925, she established one of the fundamental theories of astrophysics, that stars were made up of hydrogen and helium.

DOROTHEA Klumpke was an internationally known astronomer who studied meteorites and broke several gender barriers.

ELENA LUCREZIA Cornaro Piscopia –a 17th century Venetian mathematician, the first woman to earn a PhD.

ELSA Beata Bunge – Well known early Swedish botanist who wrote on the nature of vine grapes.

ÉMILIE du Châtenet – Translated Newton’s Principia into French and deduced the conservation of energy.

GERTY Theresa Cori (shown) was awarded a 1947 Nobel Laureate for her medical research, which she shared with her husband.

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