The public hates nuclear power, and one reason may be that the name reminds us of nuclear weapons. Would history have turned out differently if a less alarming name had been adopted early on? The model is magnetic resonance imaging, a clever branding of the technology of nuclear magnetic resonance.
I’ve noticed an example in the other direction, a case where we might have been better off if a more alarming name had been adopted. The disease we call “the flu” is lethal, but vaccination rates are low. Perhaps part of the problem is that the flu sounds so familiar, like a family pet. It might be better if we called it influenza.
[1 October 2018]