It’s all about the context. Often when architects speak, our language becomes clear and obscure at the same time: “windows” become “fenestration;” “walls” become “envelopes” and “people” become “users.” It’s true than every profession or sub-culture develops a vocabulary all its own to describe what is special and unique. An architect’s trace becomes flimsy or bumwad or onion skin (never mind debating yellow versus white.) Inside the hospital it’s a subcutaneous hematoma; at home, it becomes a bruise. Hot means radioactive.
In my recent work with radio-chemists and pharmacists on several cyclotron projects, I’ve come to love a set of terms that would make Marie Curie, Upton Sinclair, Julia Child and Le Corbusier proud. The containers used to transport and carry radioactive materials are affectionately called pigs, piglets and hogs depending on their size. Often made of tick heavy and lead, I can’t help but smile at the contrast between the sleek protective safety of these containers and their adorable porcine cousins in the barn-yard.