Category Archives: science!

Gracious decomposition

New blog title and post to wrap up my day of rampant procrastination.

My finals are next week so I’m transitioning from a state of silent panic to full-blown anxiety, which often robs me of the power of concentration. It’s quite the sucky place to be, I must say.

I did manage to take some pictures of the lab before my debilitating anxiety kicked in, though. So please enjoy the hilarious warning labels and all the pretty colors.






Never has a mouse so graciously fought decomposition. This little guy instantly reminded me of Ophelia, particularly because his paws were sticking out of the water like her hands in the painting.

Death in Brooklyn can be quite poetic, you see.

I’m covered in beads!

Beads? Bees? The possibilities are endless.

So! I’ve thoroughly neglected this place, as was to be expected. I have a legitimate excuse that involves poisonous, as well as radioactive, chemicals. I made my first set of polymer beads. They’re tiny, they glisten and they’re beautiful. According to the professor they’re excellent, and I have to say that getting complimented on my chemistry makes me feel as good as having an awesome-pawsome hair day. It’s reassuring that my first graduate school project came out so well. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about my Quantum course work. Anyway, here are the beads and the set-up used to create them:


Other things that have occupied my time:

– Making rainwater dinosaur art in subway platforms:

– Reading a lot of chemistry, particularly about coordination complexes. No photographic evidence, but if I could I’d offer up my fried brain as evidence.

– Taking advantage of the last mild days of the year to ride my bike.

– Taking pictures of sunsets, sunrises, and the slow degradation of chlorophyll:






That’s it for now, it seems. Back to the books and to praying that please-pretty-please-with-a-cherry-on-top that I don’t fail my upcoming exams.

Electromagnificent

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The Elegant Universe is probably my favorite documentary about anything ever. I spent a full hour in the DVD section of Barnes & Noble looking for it because I was convinced it was there, despite the workers telling me it wasn’t. Then, just like that, straight out of the 11th dimension, it emerged.

It’s three hours worth of tackling the most complicated issue in Physics – the unification of all laws of the universe into one theory. Now, I’m a chemist. Physics – especially the theoretical, mathematically-heavy kind – is completely beyond me. But The Elegant Universe is as elegantly made as the theory it describes. It’s completely accessible despite its main topic being abnormally abstract. It’s pretty much the best way to spend your time.

So grab you popcorn, Milk Duds, donuts and pints of ice cream and go watch it online (you gotta love Nova and PBS):

Part 1: A great summary of gravity, electromagnetism, general relativity, development of quantum mechanics, and introduction to string theory.

Part 2: Expands on string theory and its development, featuring gravity – nature’s bastard child.

Part 3: String theory gone awry! Then a mathematical supergenious comes to the rescue. And, oh yeah, the 11th dimension.

Laura O. Multipass?

Holy shit, it’s happened.

I am officially a graduate student. Best part? I will finally get to wear one of these at graduation:

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I hear there is hooding involved. Fancy!

Let this serve as warning that rants about quantum mechanics are forthcoming.

Petals

Out of the nearly ten years I’ve lived in the U.S., six were spent in South Florida, which, as far as weather is concerned, has two settings – hot and wet. Year after year, the environment remains static and the grass always green. Fortunately, now I live in a place where all seasons are equally represented and I get to document the flowers as they spring up. Daffodils, tulips, lilies, then cherry trees.

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But of all the flowers, orchids are queens. They are nature’s great deceivers – delicate-looking, but astoundingly sturdy and resilient; dainty and feminine but named for the Greek for “testes” (orchis). Roses may be the most poetic, but orchids are femmes fatales.