Nominative Determinism: A. Pothecary, the pharmacist

At last night’s Ig Nobel show at the University of Portsmouth, an audience member responded to New Scientist features editor Richard Webb‘s talk about Nominative Determinism. Today, that audience member send this follow-up note:

You are unlikely to remember, but I made a comment following the talk on Nominative Determinism. I referred to a Pharmacy student we had at Portsmouth, a Mr. A. Pothecary.

I have looked him up on the register of Pharmacists, and confirmed that he is now a practising Pharmacist. Sadly, there is only one A. Pothecary on the Pharmacist register.


Dr. Tim Mason
Visiting Lecturer in Medical Microbiology
School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
University of Portsmouth

Andrew Pothecary is scheduled to speak at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress in London, in April.

Mr. Pothercary is a popular fellow, having been profiled last year by journalist W.B. Miles in The West Briton:

The most apt name in Britain? Mr A Pothecary the pharmacist

A medical expert from Truro could have the most appropriate name for his profession in the country.

Mr A Pothecary – whose first name is Andrew – is a specialist pharmacist at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. An apothecary is the historical term for a medical professional who dispensed medicines to doctors, surgeons and patients.

Mr Pothecary said he had enjoyed considerable success in his career but believed he might have been turned down for some pharmaceutical jobs when employers thought the name on the application form was an attempt at humour. “I’ve always been attracted to scientific stuff and I thought of doing something in biochemistry or medicine,” he said….

NOMINATIVE DETERMINISM BONUS: The University of Portsmouth’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences has a senior lecturer named Michael Leech.