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Scientist Inspired Baby Names You are Sure to Love

Are you trying to find the perfect name for your impending little family member but keep coming across the same “trendy” lists? Do you find yourself awash in suggests that don’t exactly “roll off the tongue” or add 3 eee’s to the end so that it’s “original”? Well, fear not. Here are 5 scientist inspired names to consider.

I know what you’re thinking and but no, Adam is not on the list.

Instead, these names come from real life scientists. Okay, some most of them are dead now, but their names are both solid choices (IMHO) and have come from some of the greatest minds that, hear me out, have really helped people like you and me.

Also, I may have used a few of these with my own children. Did I think it would make them smarter? I mean, maybe of course not.

5 Scientist Inspired Baby Names

Rosalind

Photo of the scientist Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Elsie Franklin (via Wikipedia)

Have you heard of a little thing called DNA? More specifically, its structure that forms a double helix? You probably learned all about Watson and Crick’s Nobel prize from your high school biology class. What they usually leave out is the incredible contributions of Dr. Rosalind Franklin’s work on X-ray crystallography.

As in, it probably wouldn’t have happened (figuring out the structure of DNA) without it.

This woman was underappreciated by her male colleagues and was still performing some of the most essential work necessary for biology and chemistry. She was nothing short of amazing.

It will come as no surprise that Rosalind was on the top of my list for my own daughter.  The name is elegant and uncommon with an incredible history (from a scientific perspective). While we didn’t end up going with this particular spelling (blame my husband), the sentiment remains.

For the record, if Rosalind and it’s alternative spellings (Rosalyn, Rosslyn, Roslin, etc.) happen to blow up in the near future, I’m taking credit NOW. It was all me and you’re welcome. This, coming from one of the millions of Katies from the late 80s/early 90s.

Erwin

If physics is more your things, why not consider the name Erwin (as in the famed Erwin Schrodinger?)

Schrodinger won a Nobel Prize for his work in quantum theory. In addition, Schrodinger’s equation allows us to calculate wave function of a quantum-mechanical system and how that changes over time. (I don’t really understand that either, but it sounds pretty important.)

This dude was busy developing theories for physics as it relates to all sorts of fields: genetics, statistics, ethics, other physics stuff (you know they have so many different sub-specialties).

Illustration of Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment

However, the public at large most likely recognizes this scientist from the famed Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment. Personally, I used to this was a psychological demonstration, but NO! It’s about quantum superposition. Due to a particular set of conditions having to do with radioactivity and poison, the cat within the box can be both alive and dead. While outside of the box (since we don’t know at any precise moment) the cat is neither alive or dead. Or something like that.

I think Erwin is a great name. It’s not too common and not too weird. I say go for it. Dead..or not dead cat and all.

Mae

NASA photo of astronaut and scientist Mae Jemison

Mae C. Jemison (via Wikipedia)

Dr. Mae C. Jemison is next-level inspirational. She’s a doctor, an astronaut, a public speaker, an entrepreneur, a science education advocate, an engineer, and all around BOSS.

Dr. Jemison holds many prestigious accomplishments, the most well known as being the first African American woman to go to space.

While it may not be as “scientific” but still INCREDIBLY COOL, she was also on Star Trek! Did you know she holds nine, yes 9, honorary doctorate degrees (this in addition to her degrees in Chemical Engineering and, you know, being a Medical Doctor)?

If you want to like one of the cool kids, you can follow Dr. Jemison on Twitter.

Jonas

Photo of Scientist Jonas Salk
Jonas Salk at the University of Pittsburgh (via Wikipedia)

Perhaps one of the greatest contributions to human health in the last century, Jonas Salk was the physician and virologist that developed that first polio vaccine. In addition to helping prevent thousands (and later millions) of polio cases, Dr. Salk never patented the vaccine, allowing it to be distributed as widely as possible.

Polio, which was a terrifyingly common less than a century ago, was an urgent public health crisis less than 80 years ago. It was deadly, killing thousands of people a year. Many more were left paralyzed. With the introduction of the vaccine, Polio was eradicated from the United States and later, most of the world.

Dr. Salk continued his scientific career, working on both influenza and AIDS research.

Barbara

Eleanor “Barbara” McClintock makes the list because I can’t get enough geneticists in my life (particularly females!) She’s also a Nobel Prize winner and all-around awesome and inspirational human being.

Photo of scientist Barbara McClintock
Barbara McClintock working in the lab (via the Smithsonian)

Why was her work so exciting you might ask. And I would giddily answer: corn.

You would then likely be very confused, but “ear” me out (that was a corny pun, oh my god please stop me now, I just cannot help myself.)

Let’s get to the science. Dr. McClintock was researching chromosomes. Those supercoiled, tiny, sausage-looking collections of DNA that we can visualize under the microscope if we treat our samples just right. She studied the reproduction of maize (i.e. corn) to understand more about how that genetic reproduction works. She helped develop concepts that are integral to our understanding of genetics today including genetic recombination, the roles of both telomeres and centromeres, and the discovery of transposable elements.

Not Babs at all.

Pinterest image for Scientist Inspired Baby Names You are Sure to Love

Terrible puns aside, it’s nice to find a name for your baby with more meaning than just the way it sounds. Do you have any science-inspired baby names that you like? Add a comment below.

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12 Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    Love this list! Fun reading about female scientists!

    1. labmom says:

      Gotta give credit where credit is due 🙂

  2. Katie says:

    This is a great list to keep on hand for Women in History day at my kiddos school. Impressive people!

    1. labmom says:

      YAS! Also, this made me think of the Will Forte “Women’s Her-story Month” skit from SNL. “Good job women!”

  3. I love the idea of choosing a name after a figure in history – plus it’s a great that so many vintage names are coming back in style!

    1. labmom says:

      Agreed. I’m a fan of the old-school but not over popular options (like Rosalind, in particular.)

  4. What a fun list! I love the idea of letting my kids know they were named after someone a-mazing!

    1. labmom says:

      Thanks! I’m sure there are more out there. Maybe there’s another list out there for the future.

  5. My dad needed this post back in the day! He’s an evolutionary geneticist and these names would be right up his alley I’m sure.

    1. labmom says:

      Ohhhh, evolutionary genetics for the win (lol, literally.)

  6. Love this idea!! If you’re going to name your baby after someone, might as well be a kick-butt scientist, right??

    1. labmom says:

      That’s what I did!

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