Southeastern's Science on Tap presents ‘What's in a Name?’

Friday, September 15, 2017 Brian Crother
by: Rene Abadie

     HAMMOND – In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the heroine asks “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
     When it comes to science, however, agreement on what names fit what organisms is a challenge and often leads to conflict. Getting at the importance of species names and understanding the difficulty associated with naming a species is the focus of Southeastern Louisiana University’s initial fall Science on Tap presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
     Sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences, the presentation by Biological Sciences Professor Brian Crother will be held at 7 p.m. at Tope La Catering, 113 East Thomas St. in Hammond. The lecture, titled “What’s in a Name? Amphibians, Reptiles and Names,” is free and open to all ages. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
     “Names are funny things, especially proper names. They clearly possess descriptor information,” Crother said. “A common noun, such as ‘person,’ conveys descriptive information, while a proper noun, such as ‘Abraham Lincoln,’ is much more specific and is generally applied to a single individual.”
     He said that in the field of biology, the common names of species carry specific descriptor information, while scientific names focus on genetic relationships with the rest of biodiversity.
     “Ultimately, both common and scientific names are for communication, but agreement on what names fit what organisms often causes consternation and confusion,” Crother added.
     For information on this or future Science on Tap presentations, contact the Department of Biological Sciences at 985-549-3740.

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