Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

What's in a name?

by PhilipJ on 17 February 2006

A lot, sometimes. As PZ Myers pointed out a few days ago, I am not that Phillip Johnson. I have not, last I checked, played an active role in the creation of Intelligent Design. I have not written a book filled with misused or distorted facts, and I do, within some reasonable sphere of uncertainty, think that HIV is the precursor and cause of AIDS. I am not, and will never be, a former professor of law at UC Berkeley. I have two middle initials, neither of which are E, and spell my name with only one l.

While on the subject, there are any number of other Philip Johnsons who are not me either. This fellow, who at least spelled his name as I do, had a rather impressive list of accomplishments, some of which are a glass house, New York City’s Lincoln Center, and the Peurta de Europa. I am, however, unlike him, not dead. I also can’t design buildings.

Getting warmer, however, is Philip M. Johnson. Other than lacking a middle initial*, he and I are not that different. We both seem to like science, particularly optics, though he does seem to have a fondness for photochemistry that I lack. Oh, and he’s already had a distinguished career, while mine is just starting. We’re also both associated with the American Physical Society, he as a fellow, while I am but a member. Still, however, this is closer to the mark.

So who am I again? I’m a grad student, I do science, sometimes I teach. I’m from Newfoundland, I’m going to Japan, I live in Vancouver. I’m finishing a Masters degree (hopefully sooner rather than later).

Hi, I’m Philip Johnson. Nice to meet you.

* It is a wonderful coincidence that my full name doesn’t seem to match any previously cited scientist—a citation search on the Web of Science for “johnson pjm” turns up a single entry from 1986 in Mulga Lands, whatever that might be.



  1. c chad warford    4110 days ago    #

    .....and you’re a handsome one to boot.


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