One day in the late 1980s, my friend S’mores and I were thrashing a rad quarter-pipe (skateboarding) at his house in the suburbs of Houston. S’mores’ Dad, responsible for a fleet of company cars, was reading about cleaning up spilled oil. He had put a research report titled “Enhanced Biodegradation of Aliphatic and Aromatic Hydrocarbons through Bioaugmentation” on his kitchen table that day. After a solid hour of laughing and giggles-this is why I still remember the title today-S’mores and I knew we had recognized our first jargon poetry.
I still keep an ear out for these bouts of unconscious lyricism. I had wanted to title our a science-communication-slugs-in-training blog the “Jargon Police Academy.” In that spirit, I’ve compiled a 10 most wanted list of jargon poetry that scientists, who shall remain anonymous, have tried to slip by me. If you know any other fugitives, share them in the comments.