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Category: smart baby names

Name Stereotyping: Are you guilty?

naughtykid

Is Jesse a “bad boy name“?, a visitor to our message boards asked.

She wanted to know because she loved the name Jesse but was afraid that any boy named Jesse would be stereotyped as wild, naughty, rebellious — a bad kid.

That question summoned up an issue that simmers beneath many discussions on names: What’s the image that name conveys, and do we want to take that on for our child?

To put it more plainly, do some names carry stereotypes, positive or negative, that go beyond our individual expectations and experiences?  Are you guilty of stereotyping people based on their names, and what names carry the strongest stereotypes for you?

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scifem5

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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