Author: Michelle Francl
Source: Nature Chemistry. 12, 879–880 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-020-00557-2
Publication type: Editorial material
Abstract: “Becquerels are the SI units for a radionuclide’s activity, grays are the unit for absorbed dose”. I’m in the middle of an introductory lecture on radiochemistry, but what’s really running through my mind is not metrology but a line from the King James Bible: ‘Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us’. Becquerels and grays, joules and newtons. I deal daily in numbers and with those numbers come units, compelling me to ceaselessly praise the famous men. What, I wonder, begat our practice of naming units for famous scientists — and in this moment, when we are working toward making science a more diverse, equitable and inclusive space, should we be rethinking it?