Thursday, July 16, 2009

A note on science

Working in a lab has given me a) a headache and b) a lot of insight into the types of people that populate the field of science. Having spent time in both a clinic and a lab, I have come to the conclusion that the phrase "happy medium" does not apply to the scientific community. Before you get your knickers in a twist (I saw Harry Potter a mere 36 hours ago), let me explain. It appears to me that there are "social" science people and "antisocial" science people, and that the two rarely cross paths. The social science people obviously enjoy working with patients, one another, and tend to speak to each other fairly often. This is evident in the clinic, where the colleagues share a large round table with one another and take turns bringing breakfast for everyone each day at the ungodly hour of 7am. In my realm, the Cancer Research Building (CRBII if you like formalities), there is minimal conversation. Cooperation is encouraged from the research aspect of life, but it wasn't until yesterday that someone here acknowledged that they were dependent on another for their work. Who knows, I'd like to think I help the atmosphere by saying hello to everyone and asking them basic human interest questions like "How was your weekend?" Dare to dream. Contrary to how this may sound, I have found the people I work with have to be some of the most interesting I've met. I have gained some major appreciation for research, which I think I initially struggled with due to its lack of tangibility. In the lab, it could be a year before you finish something that makes even the smallest dent in the surface of improving pancreatic cancer treatments and detection. The people I work with are so dedicated to what they do, its easy to take a lesson in self-discipline. Most of then are there until 7 at night after arriving at 8 in the morning, still working and finishing projects. This aside really is rooted in the fact that I am a nerd at heart, which brings me to one of the most original things I've seen in a while. For someone who runs PCR gels all day, this has to be one of the coolest and toughest applications. At you can buy personal DNA art, which is basically an electrophoresis gel of your DNA band pattern (Read: abstract looking art that is based on the genetic material in your cells). Basically, you customize your artwork, and they send you a kit in which you place a Q-tip of material from your cheek. I fully intend to purchase one of these someday, unless of course I can't figure out how to do it myself...

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