…or, Pulling Teeth from Tethys (And Then I Wrote…)
Since this site began more than six years ago, every Thursday I have been publishing a reprint from my column “Across the Universe” in the British Catholic journal, The Tablet. I have finally gone through all of them (except for 2019’s columns) and I’ve even re-published a few of the oldest ones that came out here before our readership had grown.
In order to let my backlog build up a bit, I am taking “Across the Universe” offline for 2020. Instead, I am republishing a selection of other articles that I have written an published in various places… often obscure.
Here’s an offprint of a paper I first published in the AGU newspaper EOS back in 1982, on a topic that is still current. At the time, I was a postdoc at MIT working on computer models of the moons of Saturn, which were just coming up in conversation for the first time.
In fact, having had a classics background, I thought that everyone else was wrong, and went about trying to find someone to agree with me. That led me to Dr. Harald Reiche, a classics professor at MIT (there really existed such a person back then!) who showed me that the issue was much trickier than I had thought. And more interesting. (Dr. Reiche died in 1994; from his Wikipedia entry one can see that this sort of article was actually right up his alley!)
What really makes this paper fun, though, is how the editors of EOS handled it. Recognizing its barely-tongue-in-cheek nature, they decided that rather than just showing me the referee comments, they would actually publish them after my paper. And that’s where the fun starts… between those who took it in good humor, and those who took it all too seriously!
Did this article from nearly 40 years ago make a difference? Well, on the one hand…
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I don’t know anyone (including me) who actually pronounces all of the names in the way we recommended. But on the other hand, nobody says “Teeth-is” anymore; and that is what had set me off in the first place. So to that extent, I guess I won!
The PDF that follows says that it may be copied freely, so that’s what I am doing here. Enjoy!Consolmagno Reiche Pronouncing Moons of Saturn