The good news for Great Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council’s decision to crowd-search a name for its latest polar research vessel is unprecedented public engagement in a sometimes niche area of scientific study.
The bad news? Just a day after the NERC launched its poll to name the nearly $300 million vessel – which will first head to Antarctica in 2019 – the clear favorite was RRS Boaty McBoatface, with well over 18,000 votes. As of April 19, the name led by a more than 3-to-1 margin over its nearest rival – RRS Poppi-Mai – 124,109 votes to 39,886. The RRS stands for royal research ship.