On March 11, Neil deGrasse Tyson of Nova Science Now, along with Marc Kaufman and Paula Apsell, brought a “Cosmic Conversation” to GWU’s Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC. Dynamic discussions of the universe centered on the Pluto controversy, and differing opinions on how to categorize and name scientific concepts. As I addressed in my question to him, this is an ongoing challenge in Biology and science in general, and we agreed on the idea of using ranges (with numbers to quantify them) for developing useful and specific scientific terminology. Afterwards, I thought of the example of the electromagnetic spectrum and light waves – radio, visible, gamma… most people have seen the chart that is divided into the different types of light (see below) – yet this chart also has numerical ranges for each section. This seems like a great solution for many naming issues – quantitative ranges for the scientific terms, with categories based on those ranges to be used in general scientific use and for non-scientists.
WETA has posted a video of the conversation: Cosmic Conversation Video
Questions from the audience, including mine on nomenclature, were taken towards the end.