Naming Laboratory Instruments

I have recently been the subject of derision and mockery from my boss and fellow research group members. Here’s why: the 2 newest additions to our GC lab are a couple of lovely Agilent 7890A-5975C GCMSs, just like this one.

There are a few small differences between the two instruments (one has a tray autosampler and the other a carousel, one has CI capability while the other doesn’t), but all in all they are pretty much the same piece of kit. As I’m sure you can imagine, this causes more than a little confusion when we are trying to differentiate between the two. My boss jokingly said that we should give them names, but we quickly realised that this was not such a silly idea. So being the primary user of both instruments, I took it upon myself to do choose the names and affix the labels. After a few days of thinking and tossing up a few possible monikers, I settled upon Marie and Pierre, after the famous Nobel Prize-winning scientists. Although they were not chromatographers, or even analytical chemists, I still felt the names were quite appropriate – distinctive enough to remember and recognisable as the most famous couple in science. So here’s to the names catching on, and the teasing eventually subsiding. Marie and Pierre are here to stay.

I can’t be the first person to do this, has anyone else out there given names to their lab instruments?