August Kopff’s 68 asteroids (Part Two)

February 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

I finally finished part two of August Kopff’s list of asteroids, each with it’s own unique, usually female, name. There were some interesting selections, loaded with various meanings, in Part One, and the next batch of names is no different. Though these lists look for the trends in the names of asteroids attributed to one German astronomer in particular and take a ton of energy, I’ve decided that it would leave me feeling like I left something unfinished if I didn’t finally complete the project (and I’ve still got two more parts to go).

Unique (or at the very least, mythological) names are no problem for Mr. Kopff. So on to part 2, a prolific period for Kopff, and plenty more gems:

613 Ginevra (October 11, 1906)
It’s not confirmed why Kopff chose Ginevra for his next discovery, with some speculating that he chose the name in honour of Guinevere, wife of King Arthur. Like his previous selection, Jenny, it’s Welsh (and Italian) for “fair and smooth.”

It’s a beautiful and exotic name, especially popular these days in Italy. Italian footballer Alberto Gilardino gave it to his daughter, born 2007. It’s also the name of Italian heiress and socialite Ginevra Elkann. It’s popularity could easily expand to English speaking countries, especially thanks to the Harry Potter series. Ron Weasley’s little sister Ginny, who eventually marries the boy wizard, is really Ginevra.

614 Pia (October 11, 1906)
This asteroid was probably named for the Pia Observatory in Trieste, northern Italy, the private observatory of the German astronomer and moon researcher Johan Nepomuk Krieger. His research was of great assistance to Kopff and his team in Germany.

This name has survived well past it’s association with singer/actress Pia Zadora, a star in the 1980s who won two Golden Globes. It’s a sweet and simple feminine name meaning “pious” in Latin, and the phonetic similarity to popular choices like Mia and Leah keeps it relevant.

(more after the jump)

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Lin-spired Baby Names

February 18, 2012 § 3 Comments

(c) Kathy Kmonicek/AP – February 6, 2011: Taiwanese-American Jeremy Lin’s come-from-nowhere start with the Knicks has spawned endless wordplay.

Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks isn’t just a surprising, inspiring force on the basketball court – the man is a word nerd’s dream. His short and simple last name has spawned countless new catchphrases – from Linsanity to Linning toa YouTube spoof to the tune of Insane Clown Posse’s “Insane in the Membrane.” But could his new and immediate popularity, paired with the clever wordplay available from his surname, give rise to a new crop of baby Lindsays, Lindas, Kaitlins or Colins? Or will a less common crop of Lin names begin appearing on birth certificates from Taipei to Queens? Let’s discuss a few possibilities.

Which ones to do you like? Have any to add? Play along, the Linsanity hasn’t slowed down just yet! (Incidentally, Lin has just trademarked the phrase. Smart guy.)

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About A Name: Maple

February 17, 2012 § 2 Comments

If there was a celebrity baby name that was going to pull this proud Canadian name blogger out of a self-imposed, quasi-hiatus while the demands of my real life job owned my life for the past six weeks, it’s no surprise that name is Maple Sylvie.

I love it. I hate it. I know exactly why and how I’m so conflicted about a name that most people have balked, “Pfft, sounds like maple syrup!”

Yes folks, Sylvie and syrup both start with Sy, but that would be beside the point if ‘maple’ wasn’t the first name. And unfortunately for Jason Bateman and his wife Amanda Anka – whose father, “My Way” songwriter Paul Anka, was born in Ottawa in 1941 – Americans don’t generally think of the symbolic importance of the maple leaf to someone who is Canadian. I’m not sure why Bateman and his wife picked Sylvie, but my money’s on the fact that Sylvie is the name of one of their grandmothers. As Anka and his first wife Anne (Amanda’s mother) are from the Ottawa area, which borders Quebec, I wouldn’t doubt that French Sylvie is a family name.

Just five days after little Maple Sylvie Bateman was born on February 10th in Los Angeles, Canada’s flag – red and white, with a maple leaf (not a pot leaf, but thank you American comedies!) in the centre, turned 47. The maple leaf is not just our flag, it’s symbolic of our national identity. Though the British and the French first colonized this country almost 500 years ago, Canada did not become a country until 1867 when Queen Victoria granted our wish to form a Canadian confederation.

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