Jonathan McDowell's Additions to English
I occasionally invent new words. Here are a couple which have
gained limited currency (in that at least one other person has
used them, even if only to humour me).
Note: do not confuse with mesonauta, a genus of fish.
- 1. (General sense) A person who has made a suborbital flight whose
highest point (apogee) was within or beyond the mesosphere, a region of
the atmosphere above the stratopause and below the mesopause. The limits
of the mesosphere are taken to be 50 to 80 km altitude for
definiteness. Joe Walker (1921-1966) became the first mesonaut in March 1961.
- 2. (Restricted sense) A mesonaut in sense (1) who has never flown
beyond the mesopause. Thus, "Neil Armstrong was a mesonaut from 1962 to
1966 when, in the course of his Gemini 8 flight, he became an
astronaut." As of mid-2004, the only mesonauts in this sense were
Milton Thompson (1926-1993) and Mike Melvill (b. 1942?).
In a letter to me in the early 1990s, Milt proudly signed himself `NASA Mesonaut'.
- Any quantity labelling the one-parameter family of photon energies.
The word was constructed by combining the names frequency, wavelength,
and energy; these are all examples of fravergies, as are functions
(e.g. logarithms) of any of them. Astronomers tend to use frequencies
in the radio domain, wavelengths in the optical domain, and
energies in the X-ray domain. Sometimes it is convenient to
refer to abstractions of a spectral measurement without specifying
whether the photon property being measured is, e.g., frequency or wavelength;
fravergy provides that abstraction. Example: "in a photometric measurement,
the bandpass can be approximated by a central fravergy, or by a minimum and
maximum fravergy, or by a transmission curve as a function of fravergy."