name change

Bharathi Jagadeesh bjag at
Thu Apr 25 09:22:11 EST 1996

Karen Allendoerfer (ravena at wrote:

[stuff deleted]

: I have one of those names:  long, unspellable, unpronounceable, and I got
: grief from other kids.  At first I couldn't wait to get rid of my name,
: then I started to become kind of attached to it, and now there is nothing
: that could make me change it:  I love my name, warts and all.  I'm not
: sure that I could have learned to love a married name that I hated, I
: think there is something about having had it from birth and having been
: through the ups and downs of life with it . . . 

I've gone through exactly the same evolution about my name. It's long,
unspellable, and unpronounceable, and add on the "handicap" of being
strange and obviously "foreign." As a kid, I was, of course, teased
about my name (give some thought to some rather obvious alterations 8).

I remember asking a substitute teacher to call me "Barbie" UGH! (no
offense to those whose name is Barbie, but I was clearly borrowing my
name from the doll). Thankfully, I did outgrow this phase. I'm now
proud of my name, and my only distress is that there already is a
Bharati (spelled differently, Bharati Mukhargee, the author)
in the library card catelogs! My name is a derivation of the
Sanskrit name for India (Bharath) and I've grown very fond of it,
and what it signifies.

I worry sometimes about people who try so hard to give their kids
names that are mainstream and unobjectionble in order to prevent
teasing. It seems to me that this is contributing to the homegenization
of America. I guess it's true that if all of the kids in a class are
named Michael and Emily there won't be much teasing -- but . . . 

: One other thought, even if his name is not euphonious, if it's unusual,
: that can be an advantage for a scientist.  I am glad to be the only
: Allendoerfer in the Society for Neuroscience.  People don't mistake me for
: anyone else, my publications are found easily on computer databases, and
: no other poor soul is given the responsibility for their authorship :)

: Karen A. [llendoerfer] (I got it right, from memory, Karen!)

Yup! I too am glad to be the only Jagadeesh in the Society for Neuroscience
(although I don't expect this to be the case forever, since Jagadeesh
is not an uncommon name in India.) My publication list is very easy to
keep straight, and there've been numerous times when someone has asked me
if I'm the Jagadeesh of Jagadeesh & . . . I can't imagine that would happen
very frequently if your name was Smith!


PS: There sure are a lot of us neuroscientists reading the group!

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