Deep Sea News

Gorton’s Law


Over at the World’s Fair

Anyway, this meme asks that you come up with your own scientific eponym. What’s that exactly? Well, first read this excellent primer by Samuel Arbesman, which basically provides a step by step description of how to do this effectively. Then have a go at your own blog. If all goes well, I’d like to create a page at the Science Creative Quarterly, that collects (and links to) the good ones.

The credit for this scientific eponym goes completely to Jason Robertshaw at Cephalopodcast, the formalization is mine.

Gorton’s Measure states that the time for someone to ask “Can you eat?” when discussing a marine species is directly proportional to the rareness, strangeness, and repulsiveness of the species.


where theta=time for someone to ask “Can you eat?”
t=total people in room
alpha=species’ rareness
sigma=species’ strangeness
delta=species’ repulsiveness

This is related to Gorton’s Constant (Gamma) that states that the question “How well does it go with lemon and butter?” will occur at a very high percentage approaching infinity despite relative changes in audience size (n).



  1. #1 Chris M
    November 14, 2007

    That is hilarious!

  2. #2 kevin z
    November 16, 2007

    This novel research begs further study, such as the question “Can your batter and fry it?”. The coefficient of battering, β, is a function of the number of individuals in the audience, n, and the proportion of any audience that eat healthy foods, Ph, such that β ∝ n x (1-Ph) x θ. This is the probability of this question coming up in a random audience. In an audience composed of people from southern or rural areas, the proportion is raised to the (mn) power, where m is the number of southern or rural individuals and n is still the total number of audience members.

  3. #3 kevin z
    November 16, 2007

    I thought scienceblogs would be up on the html tags.

    The coefficient of battering is (beta), (beta) is proportional to n(Ph)(theta).

  4. #4 Raynfala
    May 9, 2008

    Maybe this will allow us to make new inroads towards solving the classic question: “And do you want fries (chips) with that?”

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