A Tom Collins By Any Other Name …

Marc Resnick, a professor of human factors and information design at Bentley University, writes to say:

I came across this fantastic aptonym today and as a major Freakonomics fan I had to share it with you: A research team at U.C.-Davis just published a study on the chemical fingerprints of American whiskeys.  And the lead researcher is Tom Collins

To be fair, the scholar’s name is Thomas Collins (he is director of the university’s Food Safety and Measurement Facility), and we don’t know if he really goes by Tom.* Furthermore, Tom Collins the drink is made with gin, which isn’t a whiskey, the beverage under study here. But still … fantastic. Thanks, Marc.

*Prof. Collins, please drop us a line and let us know if you do.


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  1. David Craft says:

    A John Collins is the same drink with Bourbon.

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  2. Marc Resnick says:

    If he has a colleague named Robert Roy, I will let you know :-). Yeah, yeah, I know that is scotch and the study was on American whiskeys. And he may not go by “Rob.”

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  3. Todd says:

    I heard Ira Flatau interview him for Science Friday on NPR, and he definitely called him “Tom” throughout the interview.

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  4. Bridget says:

    I was at a small brewery once where the bartender told us that he only serves beer and Tom Collins–Tom Collins being the name of our waiter.

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  5. TC says:

    So I’m not the only one.
    I grew up with people responding “Like the drink?”, “I’ll drink to that!” or “Will your parents drunk when they named you?”
    More than once, after going to interviews or appointments and introducing myself as _Thomas_ Collins the secretary asked “Is that your real name?

    Happily, I think the drink is dying out — folks who favor it are dying off.

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  6. Tom Collins says:

    I do go by Tom. I, too, heard every combination of comments about what my parents might have been drinking, etc. I made a deliberate choice, therefore, to study whiskeys rather than gin…

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
  7. Kris K says:

    I wanted to submit my aptonym to you but didn’t see a form. This will have to do!

    I went to a relatively small high school where one of the physical education instructors was named Jim Kloes. (that’s right — “gym clothes”?)

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