Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mad Scientist

The semester is turning out to be interesting. The chemistry is a bit of a challenge, but not as bad as it could be. Dr. G is a thorough teacher, so that helps. It’s been a nice math refresher for me as well. We’re studying kinetics right now (speed of chemical reactions). It’s been several years since I had to deal with logarithms, let alone natural logarithms, and the math involved with determining rates through initial rate experiments requires them. I’ve had to dig through the attics of my mind to figure out what mental trunk I put my college algebra in. In spite of that, it’s been fun. I feel more like a scientist again.

Anatomy is going to be interesting, and is a completely different story. In most schools they teach anatomy and physiology side by side, over two semesters. Not here. Instead, anatomy and physiology are two separate classes. That means I’m getting just enough physiology to ask questions about anatomical structures, but not enough to really know what’s going on. It’s almost like biological geography. I’m learning to read a map.

The anatomy lab is going to be interesting, though. It’s being taught by a very talented woman from Georgia, and I don’t mean the southern U.S. state. Her accent is pronounced, but I’ve not had any difficulty understanding her. I just can’t pronounce her last name.

I’ve enjoyed learning to identify certain epithelial tissues by their cell types, though. What can I say? Playing with microscopes is fun. I had a real “biology” moment (read “surreal”) when the instructor started talking about smells of the “preserved tissue” (which smell horrible) vs. “fresh tissue” which has little smell at all.

Fresh tissue? I couldn’t help it. I just started thinking about Jack the Ripper, Dr. Frankenstein and grave robbing. I can just see it now. My instructor will turn to me in class and say, in her heavy Georgian accent, “Newman! Get me a brain!”

Yes, master.

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