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KAMIOKANDE is a neutrino detector experiment located near Kamioka and stands for "Kamioka Nucleon Decay Experiment". Now, many scientific facilities but also processes or methods are named to resemble a certain meaning or famous name: e.g. HERA: hadron-electron ring accelerator, FROG: frequency resolved optical gating, CARS: coherent anti-stokes raman spectroscopy, etc. etc. ... Does KAMIOKANDE carry also a second meaning?

My first guesses would be something like: 紙を噛んで or 神を噛んで which would both make in a funny way sense for me. The first one because there is so much paperwork involved and the second because fundamental physical laws are being elicited (e.g. through an effort for which you need to grit your teeth get through ;-) )

Or is simply my understanding of pronounciation so far off the mark that it simply means 神岡NDE, because the pitch accent of 神岡 is different from 紙を噛 or 神を噛?

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    As a native speaker, I guess there is no second meaning, unfortunately(?)
    – Keyflux
    Sep 28, 2023 at 14:32
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    It's just a name.
    – aguijonazo
    Sep 28, 2023 at 16:02
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    As the previous answers told, it's at least not such a simple play of sounds/words, but I guess that doesn't necessarily mean that there wouldn't be some joke in the name. Those who are genious have their sense humor, I guess, and if you are stuck with already the Kamioka being fixed, and needing to include the research, it would be pretty hard, but, probably not too hard for Kajita-sensei to come up with something. p.s. Reusing mines is really cool. When I developed elevators, a nearby mine (300m) allowed testing. The same time , there was also some neutrino stuff going on.
    – Tuomo
    Sep 29, 2023 at 14:11

2 Answers 2

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I'm pretty certain that it has nothing to do with 紙, 噛んで, or any other simple pun. I don't think the ンデ or カンデ part in カミオカンデ has any special meaning as a word or morpheme on its own.

However, the name as a whole does have a vibe reminiscent of "robot anime" from the 1970-1980s. I think many native Japanese people who were young at that time would somewhat notice this. It's difficult for me to articulate what kind of names sound like robots, but when placed alongside works like ライジンオー and ゴライオン, the name カミオカンデ fits in naturally. In this regard, I can definitely sense a playful spirit in the name.

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As some of the native speaker contributors have explained in the comments:

As a native speaker, I guess there is no second meaning, unfortunately(?)

It's just a name.

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