Zefram Cochrane of Alpha Centuri

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by T'Girl, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm always spelling "Zefram" as "Zephram." Frequently have to catch myself.
     
  2. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    That's interesting... it seemed like when I did a search on the name, *all* the references I could find had to do with Star Trek.

    I see that "Zephram" brings up a whole bunch of baby-name meaning sites that all repeat the same Greek origin, but there don't seem to be any references to real people who actually have that name.

    Kor
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, you can't always trust the first hit on Google. Always best to try to get at least two sources that corroborate each other -- as long as one isn't just quoting the other one. Like Captain Rob, I found the "Zephyrus" explanation, but it sounded fishy, so I looked deeper in the search results and couldn't find anything else that wasn't a reference to Cochrane.

    So I figure Coon probably made up the name as a "spacey" variant of Efrem (perhaps an allusion to Efrem Zimbalist Sr. or Jr.?). I honestly never knew it wasn't a real name. Still, like I said, neither is "Uhura." Or "Sulu," as a personal name rather than a geographic one.

    Wasn't the name "Wendy" basically an invention of J.M. Barrie in Peter Pan? Sometimes names originate in fiction and then catch on in real life.
     
  4. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Private Zephram Lavier died in 1863.

    Private Zephram Barthelaney was wounded in 1865.

    Also, Private Zephram (or Zephirin) Fortler, a Canadian who fought in the American Civil War for New Hampshire, later signed up in 1909 with the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (the precursor to the US Veterans Administration).

    All the references to "Zefram", pre-1965, seem to be misspellings of the word "zefran" (an acrylic fiber and also a last name of unknown origin possessed by only one person that I can find).
     
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  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Thanks, Tim Thomason.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Okay... I'd like to strike my earlier remarks from the record, Your Honor. ;) I bow to your superior Google-fu.
     
  7. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the book Letters to Star Trek (1976), a fan writes that they named their baby Miri.

    I find myself hoping that some fan somewhere hung Zefram on his kid. It's a cool name. :bolian:
     
  8. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nah, you're probably right. Gene Coon probably made up the name, just like J.M. Barrie made up the name "Wendy" despite it appearing quite a few times in 19th century censuses.

    In fact, census and historical record searches just now made me find a whole bunch (120+) more Zephrams and one Zefram - (Zefram Archiomo, a Russian from Pittsburgh who registered for the Draft in World War I) - although that might be the result of misspelling and self-transliteration, since he seems to be not only the only Zefram in all of history (until 1973), but the only Archiomo as well.
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    The name/word references in a book from 1911. It appears to be of Greek origin and extremely uncommon in the west.
     
  10. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I saw that, but it seems to be a problem with Google's OCR. Clicking on the entry shows that it's actually an entry on Sardanapulus and the letters "Zephram" are actually the Greek letters "Σαρδα-" ("Sarda-" the first part of his name). Sometimes robots make weird mistakes.
     
  11. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Good stuff, Tim Thomason.

    Kor
     
  12. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    Only if his last name is Cochrane. The next few years will be perfect so he will be old enough in 2063.
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Actually, the answer about Cochrane and Alpha Centauri are in Coon's original outline. Mystery solved.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Thank you for that. That should settle this at last.
     
  15. Shark

    Shark Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ah, see, now a definitive reference.
     
  16. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    "I don't want to be a statue."

    "You told him about the statue?"

    :lol:

    Kor
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    By the way, one thing I've noted about "Metamorphosis" is that it calls Cochrane "the discoverer of the space warp," not "the inventor of warp drive." "Discoverer" suggests that he found something that was already there. Like, maybe he found a naturally occurring space warp between Earth and Alpha Centauri, and studying that warp led others to the principles behind warp drive. Looking at that outline description, it suggests that Coon envisioned Cochrane more as an explorer than an engineer, so the "space warp" line may have been thrown in as an afterthought to explain how he got to Alpha Centauri in the first place.

    Granted, it could be taken to mean that he discovered the physical principles behind warp drive, but that doesn't work in real-world terms, since those principles are basically inherent in General Relativity, and theorists over the past 20 years have already worked out the theoretical specifics of how a warp drive would need to work. What's lacking is the knowledge of how to achieve it in practice.
     
  18. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He really does have more in common with Lawrence Of Arabia than we thought! Fascinating to see this early draft, thanks.

    Regarding the "space warp discovery" thing, maybe warp engines operate by accessing this underlying current which resides just this side of subspace or something?
     
  19. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Also of note: Kirk, Spock, and McCoy consistently refer to him as "Mister Cochrane" (as opposed to "Doctor Cochrane" or "My Liege"). It seems odd to me that such a revolutionary scientist in the 21st century neglected to get a Ph.D.

    Of course, First Contact tells us he was a Doctor all along. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were just being rude.
     
  20. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My understanding is it used to be a common male nickname (for Wendell). Barrie was the first to popularize it as a female name.