In 2019 the United Kingdom’s new state-of-the-art polar research vessel is slated to take to the seas. The Natural Environment Research Council, the UK’s leading public funder of environmental science who is funding this beautiful new ship, is allowing the public to name the new ship. And unless you have been living under a rock you are probably aware that the most popular name is
I actually think they should name the boat Boaty McBoatface.
In the same way that the Mars Curiosity Rover twitter account fully embraces popular culture and the public…here comes the hot stepper word ’em up…so should NERC. NERC would get a lot of public support, interest, and backing with Boaty McBoatface. Simply put, Boaty McBoatface is full of science communication win. A cliche name like the Polar Star or a name after yet another dead white guy will never capture the public interest or imagination. The ship will be forgotten soon. What won’t be forgotten is Boaty McBoatface and with daily updates from a @BoatyMcBoatface twitter account this is the scicomm gift that keeps giving. How many kids know the name of even a single research vessel? Think that will change with Boaty McBoatface? You bet your icebreaker it will. Some are going to say that science is serious business and this is no time for the antics of ship named Boaty McBoatface. I couldn’t disagree more. Boaty McBoatface captures the spirit of research at sea. Boaty McBoatface captures the fun of going out to sea to explore the ocean. Science could use a little more fun than it currently possesses. As someone who takes science very seriously and has spent time at sea, I for one would love to tell someone I’m out on Boaty McBoatface. Apparently, all my deep-sea scientist friends on Twitter and Facebook agree. The scientific community, at least the ones online, appear to support Boaty McBoatface.
But if we need to give it a serious name, I am in overwhelming support of Honor Frost. I borrow from Victoria Herridge who originally put this bug in my ear. In case you do not know, Honor Frost (28 October 1917 – 12 September 2010) was a pioneer in the field of underwater archaeology, who led many mediterranean archaeological investigations, especially in the Lebanon, and was noted for her typology of stone anchors and skills in archaeological illustration. So the reasons are
- About damn time we name a prominent research vessel after a women scientist.
- She pioneered a whole new field (underwater archaeology).
- Knew a lot about boats, and especially anchors.
- Her name sounds both noble (Honor) and icey (Frost). Good for Southern Ocean and Arctic Research.
- Clearly a super hero. She was an orphan brought up by a Mr Evill. No seriously, she was orphaned at an early age and became the ward of Wilfred Evill, a London solicitor and art collector.
Seriously, go and vote for Honor Frost https://nameourship.nerc.ac.uk?id=1y97J0Ay.