Sciency Words: Georgium Sidis

Science fiction uses scientific language as a form of artistic expression.  With that in mind, today’s post is part of a series here on Planet Pailly called Sciency Words.  Every Friday, I’ll bring you a new and interesting scientific word to help us all expand our scientific vocabulary. Today’s word is:


In the late 18th Century, Sir William Herschel discovered a new planet.  Up until that point, everyone assumed there were only six planets in the Solar System.  When asked what to name this planet, Herschel called it the Georgium Sidis, meaning “George’s Star,” in honor of his patron, King George III of England.
Uranus 2003
Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), this name didn’t stick.  Non-English scientists were offended and didn’t want our seventh planet named after an English king, so they re-named it Uranus after the ancient Greek god of the sky.  This choice has worked out great for most of the world, but not for those of us who speak English.  For us, the planet Uranus has become the victim of far too many astronomy jokes.

Incidentally, I named a character in one of my Tomorrow News Network stories George Sidis in honor of Uranus’s original name.  Sidis is a secondary antagonist in “Children of the Swarm,” and yes, I’d describe him as kind of an ass.

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Did you already know this word?  If so, please share another sciency word in the comments below.  That way, we can all keep expanding our sciency vocabularies together!

P.S.: There’s a brand new short story on the Tomorrow News Network website.  3,000 years into the future, the Earth Empire has a new secret weapon: the brain of Albert Einstein.  Click here to start reading “Einstein’s Clone.”

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