I've named a lot of things in my career as a name developer--a condom, a venture-capital firm, a laser hair-removal device, the Internet privacy agency TRUSTe, and countless defunct dot-coms--but some things have remained tantalizingly out of reach.
I'd love to name a car, for example. Or a perfume. Or, just for kicks, a nanoparticle.
Why a nanoparticle? Because it's there. And it needs a name.
Here's the scoop: A couple of physicists, Lai-Sheng Wang at Washington State University and Xiao Cheng Zeng at the University of Nebraska, have discovered a cage-shaped cluster of 16 gold atoms--the smallest possible piece of 24-karat gold. (The scientists' report appeared in the May 30 issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.)
Unfortunately, Wang and Zeng haven't been able to name their find. Back in 1995, when a molecule of 60 carbon atoms in the shape of a soccer ball was discovered, someone thought it looked like Buckminster Fuller's famous geodesic dome and named the thing "buckyball." No such luck this time. (The gold cluster is called "bucky gold" in the journal article.)
Dear Drs. Wang and Zeng: Don't let namelessness keep you from your golden opportunity, so to speak. Here are eleven ideas to get you started. Readers, I'm sure you can build on this list.
- Argonet (from Jason's ship, the Argo, that voyaged in search of the Golden Fleece)
- Auricle (AU is the chemical symbol for gold)
- Tutti (the perfect ornament for a miniature King Tut, eh?)
- Midaselle (a tiny king of gold)
- Rube (from Rube Goldberg, whose surname means "gold mountain")
- Whoopi (see supra)
- ...and, of course, the WangZeng