Boaty McBoatface has had its day, time for Katharine Giles to be moved to the bow of the ship

Boaty McBoatface

Boaty McBoatface

Boaty McBoatface has captured the public’s imagination. The Natural Environment Research Council had called for nominations and votes for the name for the new expeditionary ship for the Antarctic.

As is the way with social media, RRS Boaty McBoatface emerged as the overwhelming favourite, securing 124,000 votes, 85,000 more than the next most popular, RRS Poppy-Mai, named after a little girl with incurable cancer.

I have loved the Boaty McBoatface phenomenon, but I did not vote for it. Rather I voted for Katharine Giles to be commemorated by having the ship named after her.

Global warming researcher Katharine Giles

Global warming researcher Katharine Giles

Katharine was a research scientist who had dedicated her professional career to monitoring the impact of climate change. What more fitting way could there be to commemorate the life of this young woman whose life was cut tragically short in a cycling accident in London three years ago?

RRS David Attenborough was another popular choice but I, for one, feel quite strongly about naming ships or buildings after the great and the good. David Attenborough has been immortalised through his filming over many decades and, through that, he will long be remembered.

By commemorating Katharine Giles in this way, she will serve as an inspiration to young women, encouraging them to enter science careers, and it would be recognition for the cause for which she dedicated her life.

I hope the Natural Environment Research Council will see that the RRS Katharine Giles is the most fitting name for this ship.

(This item was first published in the Brighton Argus on 21st April 2016)

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