Latest news for
Enough people have inquired about why we chose these particular names that it seems helpful to make a post about it. We've also had a number of creative guesses about Petra and Rosalind; I almost want to do a poll about that, but I'll stick to the point.
The Naming Process:
We're pretty systematic people, so we started off by each coming up with a list of about 20 names that we liked. We were fortunate to be aided in this mission by an excellent book, the . It was written by Matt's manager's wife, and the has lots of fantastic vizualizations of names that may look familiar to those of you who have seen the work of Matt's group on .
Once we each had a list, we compared them. There was a single name that appeared on both lists, but it wasn't really a top choice for either of us. Other than that, it was clear that we had radically different taste in girls' names . . .
. . . but we pressed forward. We each picked about 5 names from the other person's list that we
could live with liked best , ending up with a list of 11 names.
Over the next few months, we each mulled over those names and discussed the ones we liked better. We finally settled on Petra. It had originally been on Alison's list, because it (although ending in "a") was not terribly over-feminine, had a strong , and was uncommon without sounding weird.
Matt likes it because (a) it is the female form of his dad's name, (b) he loves , and (c) it is the name of one of the main female characters in , a favorite sci-fi novel. Actually, this is one of Alison's favorite books, too, but she'd forgotten about the name.
originally we were going to give her one of our last names as a middle name and the other as the last name. So we didn't need to come up with a middle name. Only a few days before she showed up (mind you, she was 14 days early), we talked over the last names again and decided on hyphenation. Then we needed a middle name, so we went back to the original lists of names. Rosalind was one of Matt's picks that had ended up on the "short" list of 11.
The main reason for choosing this name is because of its Shakespearean connection. As many of you know, Matt and Alison met in the . Both of us read and performed in many Shakespeare plays in our younger days. Rosalind, from , is one of Shakespeare's many  great, strong, female characters. (We actually went through a bunch of the plays looking at names, but a lot of them are . . . less palatable). It is also the name of the (and indeed should have been listed as a coauthor on the seminal paper by Watson and Crick), only to have by Watson.
so . . . Petra doesn't have too much to live up to, does she?