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What Would You Want to be Named After You and Why?

Updated on November 26, 2017
Ben Reed profile image

Ben has held a life-long interest in language and has a special interest in the expressions, phrases and idioms that contribute to its use.

Why Do You Want To Have An Object Named After Yourself?

Are you thinking about having an object named after yourself? If so why? What are you motives? Is it a desire to leave a legacy to future generations? To leave your own mark? To be remembered for posterity? Perhaps you are just seeking a way to stand out from the crowd? Or is it simply that you want to have the knowledge that your name will live on. Whatever your motive, there are many things that can be and are available to have named by way of a dedication to yourself. This article explores a number of these and what that might mean:

  • Naming Celestial Bodies
  • Naming Scientific Theories
  • Naming Buildings of Significance
  • Naming Scholarships
  • Naming Creatures
  • Naming Flowers

Having your name linked to an object or idea, will by itself never be an automatic guarantee that your name, or the essence of yourself, will live on in the future. However, this should not prevent or deter those of us who wish to have an item named after or dedicated to themselves from doing so. After all, there can be many reasons for desiring this. For example, you may have a deeply held personal reason that has nothing to do with having your name held up loud and proud for all to see. Sometimes it just matters – with no other reason than the emotional response it gives to you.

Are you looking to stand out of the crowd?
Are you looking to stand out of the crowd?

Wanting Your Name To Live On Is A Natural Feeling

All animals have a natural urge to reproduce, to pass their genes onto the next generation, its a fundamental part of life. While the reasons why this has evolved are many and complex, fundamentally, it is to pass on our genes and to create a larger gene pool for the future through which there is a diverse variety of traits and possibilities for surviving in an unknown future environment.

I see the feeling of wanting to have something tangible and meaningful left behind that symbolizes who we were or what we represented, as being an extension of this natural urge. It is neither right or wrong, it just is.

DNA - The natural way to pass on our traits through our genes
DNA - The natural way to pass on our traits through our genes

A Named Dedication To Others

It may be that you are looking to find a way to leave a dedication to others rather than for yourself. This is something that we often seek to do for those we have loved or who we have greatly respected and feel that they deserve the accolade.

Whatever your reason, there are many ways in which have an object or an idea preserved for posterity in our, or others names.

There is a whole universe to name - will your name be on one of these heavenly bodies?
There is a whole universe to name - will your name be on one of these heavenly bodies?

Celestial Bodies

It is becoming increasingly popular to have something named after you which is out of this world. Perhaps it is the thought that these celestial bodies are ever enduring, or that somehow the scale of these cosmic object are so vast that it increases the kudos associated with them.

Which of these cosmic items would you most want named after yourself?

See results
The Universe. A cosmic source of items waiting to be named after you.
The Universe. A cosmic source of items waiting to be named after you.

And the Cost of Owning a Celestial Body?

The most easily achievable of these is having a star named after you. The cost of doing this varies according to the rarity of the heavenly body.

A bright star might cost as little as £40 while a Constellation may set you back around £60 and a binary star (two stars orbiting around one another) may cost around £100. But be warned: companies offering this, usually have no official rights to the naming of these bodies. The star purchased will not be officially named after you. What you are actually buying is the novelty of a nicely packaged certificate, a star chart, and the thought that your name lives on through its association to that star. Other companies, can and will offer the same or similar package to others against the same star.

So perhaps this is not such an enduring solution to having your name live on as it first seems. It would appear that the only truly genuine method of having a heavenly body named after yourself is to do the hard thing and discover it before anyone else does. Unsurprisingly, immortalizing yourself is not as easy as it first appears, it cannot be easily bought off the shelf.

An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or after which something is named, or believed to be named. The adjectives derived from eponym include eponymous and eponymic.

— Wikipedia

Make A Scientific Breakthrough - Immortalize Your Name

Having something named after you is not a guarantee in itself that future generations will naturally associate you directly with that chosen object. After all, everyday many of us refer to things that are named after someone living or passed on, where we don’t even associate directly with the person and what it was that brought about its name into being. An example might be a flower, or a new species of animal. There are however many things that we do associate directly with the person who it was named after. In my view these tend to be things such as a significant discovery or new scientific theory. An example would be Einstein’s theory of Relativity or Darwin’s theory of Evolution. These are significant and life changing works that impact on all of us across many generations, and as a consequence we are taught about them, and the person behind them, during our formative school years – and so the person’s legacy is passed from generation to generation.

Scientific Theories.

Developing a scientific theory which revolutionizes our ideas is the one area where it would seem most likely that we might achieve the goal of having our name and life remembered for many generations ahead. Sounds easy doesn’t it? All we need to do is come up with a great idea or concept, publish it and hey presto – immortality is achieved. But wait a moment. Can you think of a single person who has done just that without years and years of hard work, often having their ideas scoffed at or ridiculed before they are finally acknowledged? Perhaps this route to being remembered is the most likely to succeed, but it is a path that is the most difficult to tread and achieve.

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) - Theory of General Relativity

Charles Darwin (1809 – 1982) - Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) – Discovery of radium and polonium

Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727) - Laws of Gravity and Motion

Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton
Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton

Put Your Name In Concrete

How about having a building named after you? A Library, University or Museum would surely guarantee your name living on. Or perhaps an art gallery, or even a street name.

But then again – This seems to be an area reserved for the famous and or for wealthy patrons. Unless you have huge financial reserves and are able to donate significant sums to the development of such institutions, you are unlikely to be able to achieve this accolade. There seems to be two main ways of associating your name with a university:

  • Become a political leader
  • Become the Founder your own institution

Name a University, Library or School after Yourself?
Name a University, Library or School after Yourself?

Create a Scholarship

There is a more readily available method of associating your name and legacy to these institutions: Create a Scholarship

Outside of achieving political greatness or founding your own institution, the next best, and slightly more achievable course of action may be to create your own scholarship.

So how do you do this?

  1. Find the Funding
  2. Establish a Budget
  3. Determine the Criteria
  4. Create the Application
  5. Set the Deadline
  6. Select the Winner(s)
  7. Award the Scholarship

You will need access to funds to achieve this. For example, a scholarship might cost you around £5,000 a year to fund a £5,000 annual scholarship. Or a sum of around £50,000 might enable you to endow an annual scholarship of around £2,000. The idea behind an endowment of this type is that the income from the fund, provides the money to finance the annual scholarship and so it can run on for many, many years – carrying its association to your name with it.

This is, I think, my most favoured route to having something named after me and providing a legacy that will live on past my time here. It is something to aspire to. Achievable, though not too easy to accomplish, It gives help to future learners starting their own journey and through association with it, enables your name and values with the potential to live past your own years.

Consider creating a Scholarship - Commit your name to learning.
Consider creating a Scholarship - Commit your name to learning.

Can You Name a Creature After Yourself?

The short answer is yes. Although you do have to achieve the not insignificant activity of discovering a new species first, or at least know the person who has made the discovery sufficiently well enough to persuade them to give it your name.

But caution is needed. There are a couple of hurdles to overcome before this can be achieved:

  1. Find a new previously undiscovered creature
  2. Name it in accordance with the rules set by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature

Quite a mouthful of a name. But as the quote below states, this body is responsible for ensuring that the chosen name follows a set of rules.

“Ordinary languages grow spontaneously in innumerable directions, but biological nomenclature has to be an exact tool that will convey a precise meaning for persons in all generations,” preface to the code’s first edition, 1961.

If you have time to read through these rules - and believe me they are lengthy and complex, then please do so. But it is easier and speedier to see an example of these naming conventions in action. Here are a few:

Heteropoda davidbowie - A spider named after David Bowie the music legend.

Attenborosaurus conybeari - a dinosaur named after Richard Attenborough the British Naturalist.

Agra katewinsletae - a beetle named after the actress Kate Winlet (starred in Titanic).


Which of these creatures would choose to be given your name?

See results

Naming A flower

This is often considered a thoughtful way of commemorating a loved one.

The easiest route to having a plant or flower commemorate a person’s life or work is to plant something in a location that meant something to them and their friends. Perhaps a young tree that will endure for many years.

However, if you are a keen gardener or have an affinity with flowers, and you wish to have a commercially grown new flower named after you, this is possible. It will come at a cost of money and time. The keen gardener could of course develop their own flower and give it their name. These will however not be commercially grown and so will only survive for as long they as the plant is propagated from cuttings.

As an example of the likely cost associated with having a flower commercially grown and named after you, thereby giving the flower the best prospect of enduring and your name living on, the British Society of Rose Breeders estimates the cost at being somewhere between £2,000 and £10,000.

Tulips and Forget-Me-Not Flowers
Tulips and Forget-Me-Not Flowers

Given the choice, which of these flowers would like named after you?

See results

Summary

Whatever we decide, for those among us who are not destined for academic greatness, or who will not make some huge and ground-breaking discovery, there is only one sure fire way to have your name live on after we have gone. That is that we are ultimately judged by the people closest to us every day. We can strive to leave our mark on the world around us, to create a legacy that will endure past the years available to us, but in the end, it is not ourselves that will determine whether or not our memory is to be enduring, this is in the hands of those nearest and dearest to us. What is in our hands, is the ability to treat each other with respect, to strive to do your utmost and to be there when your loved ones need your support. The rest, as they say – is fate.

Fate - in the end we make choices - we roll the dice and fate decides.
Fate - in the end we make choices - we roll the dice and fate decides.

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    • verdict profile image

      George Dimitriadis 

      8 months ago from Templestowe

      An enjoyable and very informative article.

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