Scientific Jargons

What Is Jargon?

Jargon is the specialized vocabulary of any profession, trade, science, or hobby. As scientists discover new phenomena and research techniques, they coin terms by which to refer to these findings. These terms, which are technical terms specific to a discipline, will, by default, be jargon.

A number of these jargons are known only to professionals. However, due to popularization of science, they gradually become part of common languages.

Several categories of scientific jargon can be distinguished as follows:


Acronyms are words formed from the initial letters of other words. One major prerequisite for an acronym, is, it must be pronounceable as a word, e.g. FORTRAN, NATO. Below are some notable acronyms:

  • LASER → Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
  • LASik → Laser-Assited in Situ Keratomileusis
  • MASER → Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
  • AMANDA → Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array, a neutrino telescope
  • BLAST → Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope
  • COMICS → Cooled Mid-Infrared Camera and Spectrometer
  • FORTRAN → FORmula TRANslation
  • FROG → Frequency-resolved Optical Gating
  • MARVEL → Multi-object Apache Point Observatory Radial Velocity Exoplanet Large-area Survey, a NASA-funded project to search for exoplanets.
  • PLANET → Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork, a program to search for microlensing events
  • SHRIMP → Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe
  • SPIDER → Spectral Phase Interferometry for Direct Electric-field Reconstruction
  • SQUID → Superconducting Quantum Interference Device
Composite words

Recent scientific research work has discovered interdisciplinary fields, for which new names, classified into “portmanteau” words or syllabic abbreviations, are often created by combining two or more words, sometimes with extra prefixes and suffixes. Examples include:

  • Biotechnology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biochemistry
Elementary particles, quasiparticles and chemical elements

The progress encountered in discovery of particle physics, nuclear physics and atomic physics has culminated in discoveries of new elementary particles and atoms. Examples include:

  • Quark
  • Gluon
  • Lepton
  • Graviton
  • Neutrino

In some cases, a word may be named after the person who discovers the particle/element or after the name of some famous scientist in the field. The following are examples:

  • Boson (named after S.N. Bose, the Indian Physicist)
  • Mendelevium (after Menluleev, the Russian Chemist)
  • Diesel engine (after Rudolf Diesel)
  • Otis (lift name [named after E.G. Otis])
  • Good Year Tyres (after Charles Good Year, invention of Vulcanized rubber)
  • Carrier (Airconditioners [named after Carrier])

Another group of jargon terms (for quasiparticles) related to physician is as follows:

  • Exciton
  • Magnon
  • Phonon
  • Plasmon
  • Phason
  • Polaron
New concepts

New concepts are specific notions and terms such as:

  • Nanoarchitectonics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biomechatronics
  • Bionics
  • Chirality
  • Chromodynamics
  • Hamiltonian
  • Lagrangian
  • Mechatronics
  • Multiphysics
  • Photonics
  • Spintronics
  • Space objects
  • Blasar
  • Hypernova
  • Nova
  • Quasar
  • Supernova