The internet can’t always get what it wants. And when it comes to naming a British polar research vessel Boaty McBoatface, it tried for some time, but now we find, that name’s going to a submarine.
Although the news surely breaks all of our Hearty McHearts, the $287 million ship and state-of-the-art floating laboratory being built by Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)—set to take to the seas in 2019—will not be named Boaty McBoatface after all, despite the public having voted it as such. Instead, it will be named after the eminent and beloved naturalist and science broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, with the official title of Royal Research Ship Sir David Attenborough.
According to a recent New York Times report, NERC decided to disregard Boaty McBoatface, the name that won NERC’s own internet poll with around 124,000 votes, and instead chose to go with RRS Sir David Attenborough (which came in fourth in the competition with 11,000 votes) as it “captures the ship’s scientific mission and celebrates the broadcaster’s contribution to natural science.”
The internet responded exactly as we’d all expect, with many taking to twitter to call out NERC for holding what they deemed to be a pointless contest, and to—of course—make a few even more ridiculous suggestions:
Why ask for a public vote if you aren’t going to go with what the people wanted? #BoatyMcBoatface
— Z ⚡️ (@zerena_hoofs) May 6, 2016
Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, wrote in a statement regarding the final choice for the vessel’s name, “The decision to name the ship after Sir David Attenborough comes only days before Sir David’s 90th birthday and is in recognition of his legacy in British broadcasting, inspiring a love of the natural world over generations.” And despite the giggle factor of Boaty McBoatface, it’s hard to argue with that reasoning; Attenborough has been responsible for bringing science to the masses in an understandable and entertaining way for decades, through various books and documentaries including his awe-inspiring Life series.
And all is not lost with regard to the Boaty nomenclature, as there will still be a “high-tech remotely operated sub-sea [vehicle]” named Boaty McBoatface that will dispatch from the RRS Sir David Attenborough and help scientists collect data from the depths of the Arctic and Antarctic waters. And that may actually be better, because that little high-tech sub may make incredible discoveries, and find new species, and the name Boaty McBoatface will be associated with all of them.
What do you think about NERC’s research vessel’s new name? Is this a total McInjustice, or after over six decades of dedication to science and education does Attenborough better deserve to have his name on the side of the ship? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Images: National Environment Research Council