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Re: names

Oh, please do not even consider the so-called "International Star Registry"
as being part and parcel with legitimate astronomy! It is a commrcial
undertaking, much decried and totally unsanctioned by professional
astronomers, who do not -- indeed, cannot -- sell star names to
unsuspecting, well-meaning members of the public who would do much better to
donate their money to astronomy scholarships and research. Official stellar
designations must conform to international rules and generally are numbers
and/or celestial coordinates that reflect recognized published compilations
and catalogues (SAO, NGC, IC, Dryer, Hubble, Herschel, Messier, Tycho,
Copernicus, Abell, etc.).

True, Galileo wanted to name the four major satellites of Jupiter after the
Medicii; and Herschel was all for naming his newly discovered planet for
King George III,  much to the horror of 18th Century American. (Nowadays, we
know it as "Uranus," much to the mirth of adolescents who enjoy giving the
pronounciation an anatomical twist.)

Throughout history, science, discovery, and art have depended upon powerful,
wealthy patrons, institutions, and governments. Think of Michelangelo,
Leonardo, Columbus, Serano, Colbert, and Currie. There have been a few
significant persons of independent means, such as Lavoisier (who lost his
head in the French Revolution) and the reclusive Henry Cavendish (who
arguably vies with Tesla for being the maddest genuine scientist of all
times), whose contributions to modern science have few equals.

Some years ago, herpetologists were much amused by the naming of a
neotropical frog, _Eleutherodactylus enesefae_, after the author's principal
funding agency: the National Science Foundation (NSF).

It's my understanding that that most wonderful of all dinosaurs,
_Heterodontosaurus tucki_, received its specific epithet from a generous
patron (and my still long-lost wealthy "uncle") who funded the recovery of,
and research on, this splendid example of such a noble creature. :-)

-= Tuck =-

----- Original Message -----
From: "fabian Abu-Nasser" <fabianabu_nasser@hotmail.com>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2002 2:45 PM
Subject: names

> Just a quick question is it
> a) ethical
> b) sensible
> to name a dinosaur after a person who gives money to support an
> Or just plain gives money?    I know in some fields (like astronomy) there
> is the Star Registry which for a fee one can name a star after anyone or
> anything they like.  Is this a grey area- or can it/ has it been done in
> paleontology?
> Fabian Abu-Nasser
> Montpellier
> Also heard about a press release that there will be news in this weeks
> nature.
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