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Culture & Religion

Paleontologist Proposes Marriage in Scientific Paper

Caleb M. Brown discovered a new dinosaur species… and used it to help him pop the question.

Scientists are stereotyped as nerdy, romantically awkward, or even asexual, but one man has done his part to help turn those ideas around. Caleb M. Brown, the lead author of a paper from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada, smoothly managed to slip a major romantic gesture into the paper’s acknowledgments:

C.M.B. would specifically like to highlight the ongoing and unwavering support of Lorna O’Brien. Lorna, will you marry me?

First of all, back to the stereotype that scientists are romantically challenged: How did that ever come into favor? It seems like Mr. Brown could have simply said, “Hey, honey, guess what? I discovered a DINOSAUR!” and the happy couple would have set a wedding date right on the spot. What about medical scientists, who cure diseases and develop life-saving medications? Surely, they must be pretty good marriage material, too. The newlyweds could take “in sickness” out of the vows entirely, and the “’til death do us part” element wouldn’t come into play for a very long time. By virtue of their profession, scientists are organized, and have plenty of practice coping with setbacks. Plus, a home shared with a scientist would be in compliance with all of the latest health and safety standards, but I digress.

Cell Press, which published Brown’s creative proposal in Current Biology, not only supported his efforts, but also gave him credit for the novelty of his approach. “Current Biology is aware of the proposal and we are wishing the very best for the couple. I checked with several editors and this is a first for Current Biology as well as Cell Press,” a spokesperson said.

There’s no word on whether O’Brien has accepted (or even read) Brown’s offer yet, but his innovative delivery seems to give him a pretty good shot. He was wise to leave the skywriter and the violinist out of the picture. But if, for some strange reason, he gets rejected, he’s going to wish he’d taken things a step further. Perhaps the proposal should’ve gone on the title page of the paper, rather than at the end. Maybe Brown should’ve named the new species — a relative of the Triceratops — the “Lornasaurus.” Whatever the outcome, Brown deserves some credit for injecting some fun into the often dry, stodgy world of scientific writing. And I wouldn’t mind an invitation to the wedding.

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