Field of Science

Unfortunate Acronyms: PUS

When I was lecturing on lasers this week, I was surprised to discover how many of my students were unaware that laser was an acronym (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). Science is replete with acronyms - Ira Levine once essayed that if you knew enough acronyms you could pretend you knew computational chemistry - good, bad, really funny and occasionally unfortunate.

On my desk is a paper which refers (with as near as I can tell with a straight face) to "PUS research." Public Understanding of Science. I swear this is true.

If you've got a favorite one - funny, famous or truly unfortunate - leave it in the comments for all of us to enjoy...

Related Posts
Science in the kitchen: Jello lasers
Romancing the stone (steampunk lit and lasers)


  1. All my favourites are from the world of NMR experiments. I particularly remember the following quote from a lecture course on NMR (it was a shared course given by two professors who were well known not to be fond of one another - I left out the names).

    "Professor X will be able to tell you more about that in his INEPT lectures."

    Actually it might have been INADEQUATE but either works rather well.

  2. Rafael R. PappalardoDecember 12, 2009 at 9:09 AM

    Albeit not an acronym, Dirac notation always make my students smile with all this bras everywhere.

    PIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Greece & Spain.

  3. Oh...yes, the bras and the kets always make my students grin, too.

  4. An unfortunate problem with LASER as an acronym is the miss-spelling as LAZER. Which doesn't work. Google gets 33,900,000 hits for 'Lazer'...

  5. I met someone from the TEAPOT group at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, before. It's a recursive acronym(!) for "TeaPOT, engineering advancing People Oriented Technology". They spent half the time talking about their research and half the time explaining the recursive acronym.

  6. Given my propensity for tea, I love the idea of the TEAPOT group...

    was so funny i had to post it


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS