I recently came across the odd fact that one of the leading researchers on the brain in the twentieth century was—wait for it: Lord Brain. For real. His full name and title were Walter Russell Brain, 1st Baron Brain. What is even better, he was the longtime editor of the research journal Brain . There are actually important papers about the brain, written by Lord Brain, in the journal Brain .

This got me thinking: are there other people whose names are peculiarly appropriate to what they are or are famous for having done? I can only think of two other examples:

Bernie Madoff, who “made off” with billions.

Thomas Crapper, about which Wikipedia says: “Thomas Crapper (baptized 28 September 1836 - 27 January 1910) was a plumber who founded Thomas Crapper & Co. Ltd. in London. Contrary to widespread misconceptions, Crapper did not invent the toilet, nor is the word crap derived from his name. He did, however, do much to increase the popularity of the toilet, and did develop some important related inventions, such as the ballcock. He was noted for the quality of his products and received several Royal warrants.”

Are there others? The rules are (a) the name must be real, not a nickname, (b) the person must have had the name before he or she did whatever makes the name fit, and (c) the famous thing must not be named after the person.

Articles by Stephen M. Barr

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