In an effort to get the public more engaged in its work, the British Natural Environment Research Council set up an online poll to name their new research vessel. However, they were not too impressed with the resulting name: Boaty McBoatface.
While most online naming polls would be lucky to converge on such a charming name, the Council would have none of it. In the words of Jo Johnson, UK science minister, “We want a name at lasts longer than a social media news cycle.” The ship will instead be named the RRS David Attenborough, after the famed naturalist and broadcaster. While Sir Attenborough is widely loved the world over, it is still a shame to see democracy snubbed.
The people’s name has been passed on to a remotely operated undersea vessel that will be travelling with the RRS David Attenborough. This token gesture not only seriously misnamed a submarine, but has done very little to sustain interest in the project. Which is the best that the NERC could hope for, given that they had no clear plan of how to harness the attention their naming poll had attracted.