Is it okay to call scientists boffins?


5th April 2023

SOME scientists have asked that they no longer be called ‘boffins’.

Experts at the Institute of Physics (IOP) want the word, which is sometimes used to describe scientists and experts, to be ditched. They say that it can put youngsters off studying science – and that one in five of the institute’s 21,000 members consider the term to be an insult.

The Daily Star newspaper ran the story on its front page last week. They often cover science stories and refer to experts as boffins. The paper says it has huge respect for, erm, boffins, and praises them for saving lives and sending us to space.

The Star has even launched a “We Love Boffins” campaign! But Rachel Youngman, the deputy chief executive of the IOP, told the Daily Star: “We would like that term to be put in the bin. It’s old-fashioned.”

The IOP is calling for the word to be scrapped as part of its Limit Less campaign, which aims to get young people to change the world by studying physics.

We don’t use the term here at First News, but we’d love to know what you think about it! Let us know in the comments.

Is it okay to call scientists boffins?


Leave a Reply

lovelymrj · 11 months ago

I think that it is fair that we all are called by everyone by our real names and I think it is very disrespectful to call someone a boffin, it is like somebody is treating you like your not a person

svarghese · 11 months ago

Some scientists may want to be called boffins but not all!

epicstar12 · 11 months ago

No. Scientists deserve some respect, they have saved lives using their research and it’s a great honour to be a scientist.

uniquestar · 11 months ago

No, boffin is a negative term used to label 'nerdy cleverclogs'. - which is already mean and not a way to describe scientists. By labeling anyone you get rid of individuality

mistywater · 11 months ago

Well, I’ve never heard of the term before, but I guess if people want to be called boffins, call them boffins, if they don’t want to be called boffins, don’t call them boffins. Let the scientists choose what they want. As for the putting people off studying science, I don’t know if it would but it might I suppose. I wouldn’t study science/maths anyway so I don’t really know.

mrrickroll · 10 months ago

The proper answer: does it really matter?

austria · 10 months ago


I think you are correct.

'Sticks and stones break my bones, but words can't hurt me'

candyapple · 10 months ago

I think we could use more respectful words. Some scientists may find it quite hurtful, even if no harm was meant.

rabbit789 · 10 months ago

I think if they don't want to be called boffins that is ok Because for them it might be a little offensive

aces10 · 10 months ago

Although it may just be an old term, it is completely outdated and unnecessary. I’ve never heard the word used, but it sounds unpleasant and could put people off becoming scientists - something we absolutely don’t want to happen.

bonniebill · 10 months ago

I think it isn't right to call someone a boffin because it is disrespectful, even if that person has done something that you don't like.

flojohello · 10 months ago

you should never call a sientist an awrful term like that

first@news · 10 months ago

NO, because scientists are the future and you don't want to put people off from being scientists

unnapriya · 4 months ago

It is disrespectful we should call everyone by their real names