Ask pretty much any graduate student if they could accomplish anything what would it be and they’ll answer ‘name something.’ When they say ‘name something’ I’m sure they don’t mean At45560, or some sterilized annotation that was predetermined by a scientific authority. We all want to give a unique name for something we sweat years to discover and understand. A name that represents us more than our discovery.
In the early 1990s researchers investigating developmental regulation of embryos and trying to identify the signalling proteins discovered what is known as the Sonic Hedgehog pathway. This is one of the most important pathways involved in proper regulation of embryo differentiation and organization. Considering Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991, I think it’s a foregone conclusion that the researchers involved in this work spent most of their downtime on the Genesis console!
Fast forward to last month Andre Nemesio of Universidade Federal de Uberlandia of Brazil solved a long standing debate about if two groups of bees were distinct species or not. The results were published in the peer reviewed journal Zootaxa, and it turns out the bees are distinct, one had just been playing hide-and-seek, so to speak. So appropriately, Andre Nemesio decided to name this new species Euglossa bazinga, after the famous Sheldon Cooper catch-phrase. In full disclosure, bazinga was probably one of my top 5 name choices, so I’m not particularly happy about this, however good on you Andre! You’ve accomplished what most of us set out to achieve as young scientists!
The Smithsonian Mag has some fantastic photos of E. bazinga, and an interesting rundown of how researchers collect their bees. Anyone interested head over to;