Jeff Medkeff is a blogger, lecturer, swell guy, &Â Blue Collar Scientist.Â Â Specifically, he’s an astronomer; the kind of guy who discovers asteroids. Â By long-standing custom, the discoverer of an asteroid has the privilege of proposing a name for it. Â For the asteroid he and David Healy discovered on March 22, 2001, Medkeff chose “Rebeccawatson”, to honor our fearless leader! w00t!Â
“Rebecca really deserves this honor,” says Medkeff, who proposed the name. “She has provided a much-needed injection of enthusiasm and humor into science education. ButÂ just as important is the way she’s encouraged so many women to become involved.
Â Skepchick.com certainly encouraged me to be “out” as a skeptic in my day-to-day life.Â Â It was easier to see that there were other girls like me.Â Okay, like me but funnier, and able to drink more beer.
Â The naming citation reads:Â Rebecca Watson (b. 1980), once a street juggler and magician, promotesÂ science and rational thinking as publisher of the Skepchick blog, a personality onÂ the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, and as host of the radio showÂ Curiosity Aroused.
Â Medkeff points out that although more than half a million asteroids are known, only a small minority are named.
Having anÂ asteroid named in recognition of a person’s achievements and character is a rare honor and is considered to be a unique achievement in a person’s life.
Even cooler, “Rebeccawatson” (numbered 153289)Â Â joins three other newly-Blue-Collar-Scientist-named asteroids: “Philplait” (numbered 165347) forÂ The Bad Astronomer,Â Â “Stackpole” (number 156612) for esteemed writerÂ Michael Stackpole,Â and “Paulmyers” (numbered 153298) forÂ PZ Myers.
Â Now, if that isn’t stellar skeptical company, I don’t know what is. Â If I ever “wish I may, I wish I might,” these are the heavenly bodies I’m turning to, without a doubt.
Â Congratulations to Rebecca (and her skeptical superfriends!) Â on this terrific honor.Â For any of you who already thought she was out of this world, here’s your proof. Â Â Â Â Â