Now reading: GADZOOKS!, ABRACADABRA, and other SUSPECT acronyms from physics and astronomy

Take a self-guided tour from quantum to cosmos!

GADZOOKS!, ABRACADABRA, and other SUSPECT acronyms from physics and astronomy

What’s in a name? For the scientists behind these marvelous monikers, it seems a catchy acronym is key.

Science is full of big words and big ideas. That’s great, until you need to talk about them quickly. Enter a sadly overlooked, and we suspect highly competitive, subspecialty in physics: creating hilarious acronyms.

Now, these acronyms fulfill an important purpose: each is intended as a handy alternative to spelling out long, complicated names of concepts, chemicals, and Latin-laden mouthfuls.

But acronyms themselves can present a challenge when they become an alphabet soup of seemingly random letters.

To make things more memorable, some scientists get playful. Some get downright goofy. We compiled some of our favourites from physics and astronomy, with a much-appreciated assist from DOOFAAS (Dumb Or Overly Forced Astronomical Acronyms Site).

TL;DR: STEM acronyms LOL.

Learn more about PIQuIL.

Learn more about ABRACADABRA.

Don’t let the name fool you. This is serious research, as highlighted in Nature.


The worlds of theory and experiment collided at Perimeter Institute during a recent conference designed to spark breakthroughs in physics using small-scale experiments.

/Sep 28, 2017

A round-up of what’s up: the latest news from Perimeter, a look at the recent work of researchers and alumni, gems from the archive, and fun physics for everyone.

/Jun 04, 2020

As Carl Sagan once wrote: “It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.”

/Jun 20, 2014