Science and acronyms have always gone hand-in-hand, and people over the years have come up with some pretty excellent abbreviations for long and technical scientific terminology — MACHO, RAMBO, and WIMP being three standout examples.
So it's downright unconscionable that the most famous radio telescope in the world — the Very Large Array, or "VLA" for short — is known by such an uninspired name. And that's where you come in. The Very Large Array is about to get a new name, and the National Science Foundation and National Radio Astronomy Observatory want your suggestions.
According to an announcement released this morning by the NRAO:
The NRAO's Very Large Array (VLA) is nearing completion of an amazing transformation. Its original, 1970s-vintage electronics have been replaced with state-of-the-art equipment, increasing its technical capabilities by factors of as much as 8,000 and greatly increasing the array's scientific impact.
The result is a completely new scientific facility.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) seeks ideas for a new name for the VLA. Click the link below for an online entry form to submit a name suggestion. You may enter a free-form name, or a word or phrase to come as a prefix before "Very Large Array," or both.
Entries will be accepted until 23:59 EST on December 1, 2011, and the new name will be announced at NRAO's Town Hall at the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.