How Do You Pronounce ‘Uranus’?

Uranus is the planet with the funny name and the odd orientation. So, when you say the word ‘Uranus’ do you stress the first syllable or the second? Or, perhaps you do as Dr. Pamela Gay suggests, in order to avoid “being made fun of by any small schoolchildren … when in doubt, don’t emphasize anything and just say ‘Uranus.’ And then run, quickly.”

This video is the latest offering from “Sixty Symbols,” a video series put together by the University of Nottingham which provides explanations for the “squiggly lines and Greek letters that astronomers and physicists use to describe physical properties of the Universe and how they apply to modern life,” said Dr. Amanda Bauer, who gave a presentation about Sixty Symbols at the dotAstronomy conference I attended in December (and who is the first person you see on the Uranus video.)

Sixty Symbols covers symbols like Lambda and the Hubble Constant (H) to the speed of light (c), imaginary numbers (j) and propulsion efficiency — explaining their meanings in everyday language, and taking advantage of the passion and the unique senses of humor the scientists at The University of Nottingham all seem to possess!

Bauer said, however, the real genius behind these videos is filmmaker Brady Haran.

In the fall of 2009, the Sixty Symbols team completed their first sixty symbols, and they proved so popular they are now working on another sixty. The project follows The University of Nottingham’s ‘Periodic Table of Videos’ project , which features an entertaining short film about the properties of every single element in the Periodic Table, from aluminium to xenon.

Check out the Sixty Symbols website, and the Sixty Symbols You Tube site to learn more

You can also watch Bauer’s dotAstronomy presentation about Sixty Symbols here.

5 Replies to “How Do You Pronounce ‘Uranus’?”

  1. My astronomy teacher pronounced it “Ooh rah noose” because apparently that pronunciation is much closer to the actual Greek pronunciation. But this steals the humor of a venerable bit of nerdly humor which goes like this;

    “Q: What does Captain Kirk have in common with Toilet Paper?

    A: They’re both trying to keep Klingons off Uranus.”

    Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week, be sure to try the fish.

  2. Professor Farnsworth: “I’m sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all.”
    Fry: “Oh. What’s it called now?”
    Professor Farnsworth: “Urectum. Here, let me locate it for you.”
    Fry: “Hehe, no, no, I think I’ll just smell around a bit over here.”


  3. “How do you pronounce ‘Uranus’?”

    It depends on whether you are referring to “Anaconda” or the planet. 😉

  4. Perhaps Uranus was not formed in our solar system at all? But is instead a captured object that once orbited Saturn? THAT would make Saturn a captured brown dwarf? And would explain a lot about Uranus… Venus’ too? (Backward slow orbit and ‘reworked’ surface features)

    Grins, grunts and other socially unacceptable noises.

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