Monday, July 31, 2006

Not Mister Spock

Q. Someone was described as a coniologist in an article about volcanoes. Is that a fancy term for a volcano expert?

A. Not directly. A coniologist is an expert on atmospheric dust, so you can see the connection. A vulcanologist is the volcano expert. I'm always amazed at some of the titles that experts bear. There are pterylologists (feathers), pogonologists (beards), typhlologists (blindness), nosologists (diseases), and zymologists (fermentation). I suppose they have to study all those years just to learn how to pronounce their specialties.

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