Friday, 13 April 2018

We are not decoration

I saw this on twitter earlier in the week.  I must say that I have a lot of sympathy with it.  I have noticed before the tendency to name things in physics after girls a lot more than after boys, and it doesn't chime with the kind of community I think we should be fostering.


The tweet got me to look up some examples in nuclear physics.  My somewhat cursory methodology is to look in the most recent issues of NIM-A and to look for all acronyms which look like they are trying to sound like a human name, and to classify them by sex.  The first thing I noticed is that most of them do not sound like people's names at all (though I can only spot names identifiable to my anglophone self).

In the end, I went back about 6 months, but found NIM-A article titles to only hold a few given-name acronyms:

ANITA
OSCAR
ALICE
AGATA

So I then scanned through the last issue of Nuclear Physics News International for given-name acronyms and found:

♀LISE
♀NICOLE

Again, pretty slim pickings, and I've spent enough time (for now) looking, but I'd be interested in any additions in nuclear physics, and any comments on whether it is something that bothers you.