Paris: March 13th – 16th

March 13th, 2019:

Today we took the train to Paris from London. I specifically was baffled by how much easier public transportation was abroad compared to home. While I use the COTA buses almost everyday to go to class and other events that take place downtown, I had a certain expectation as to how much longer it would take because of the stops involved with public transportation. However, with the ability to move public transportation underground in both cities, it almost made more sense to take the metro than to drive, had that been an option. March 13th also led to the first time I had to pay to use the restroom, unfortunately.

After being dragged around the streets of Paris by the tour guide who was trying her best to get us to our hotel, I was excited to get to see Notre Dame and the shops around the hotel. I was in awe at the beauty of the cathedral and how many people from all over came to see it. I had a conversation with someone who was from Switzerland and also heard multiple talking in Spanish. It really made me think about how universal the idea of religion is in cultures around the world. Then I went on a walk around some of the neighboring towns and decided I just had to get some sort of pastries to bring back to the US with me. Finally, I attended the group dinner at “Le Petit Prince de Paris.” I loved this restaurant and the food was amazing.

March 14th, 2019:

Today I was able to compare the different museums that I had seen in each city. In London, I was able to go to the zoo and the Natural History museum and wanted to see how the Parisian museums compared. While they were undoubtedly different, they each had their own unique flare and showed the culture of the area. The Jardin des Plantes houses many different museums and a zoo in Paris. I started off exploring the Natural history museum portion with the class and was surprised at just how many skeletons they were able to fit in a room. I also noticed how many of the skeletons were incomplete and had different parts that were manufactured in one form or another to make the skeletons complete. I definitely saw the cultural differences in how this museum compared to the one in London.


I then headed to the Ménagerie du Jardin des plantes, or the zoo. I wanted to do my paradigm shift on how animals have been treated in zoos, specifically the switch to preservation of a species. I was able to go to the zoo in London and wanted to be able to compare the two cities on how they treat preservation on a cultural level and also how they designed the exhibits for different animals. I was more fond of the Paris zoo because I felt like the exhibits tried to be as natural for the animals as possible. I also felt as if they were more open and gave more room for the animals to wander about as if they were in the wild. Both cities really pushed towards being more conscious about how human actions have negatively affected wildlife and relatively how in danger the species is of extinction. However, that was just the beginning of the day. Afterwards, I headed towards the Louvre with some of the other girls.

Walking into the Louvre was just as beautiful as any of the other art that could be found inside. Although it took about 40 minutes to try and find the Mona Lisa, I was finally able to stand in front of it and say that I had seen the Mona Lisa in person. I also walked around the Italian painting rooms and was in awe in how bright and sharp some of the paintings were that were hundreds of years old. I was also surprised at how many Roman sculptures had been collected and how someone could create something that looks so soft out of stone. It was truly one of my most favorite times during the study abroad. Finally, we finished the day with a trip to a mall. It amazed me how instead of going out like most stores do in America, everything went up. Like most of the buildings in Paris, it was absolutely gorgeous. Lastly, I had dinner at L’isolotto and was able to practice ordering in French. The food was just delicious and the waiters were super friendly and stood through the terrible French that was being spoken.


March 15th, 2019:

March 15th was one of the most exhausting days I had while abroad. We started off the day by going to the Eiffel Tower and Musée de l’Homme. It was amazing getting to see the whole city and even parts that I had not been able to visit. I also got to see the second statute of liberty in Paris that I found. Next, I went to Musée de l’Homme, which we had talked about when a guest speaker came in to talk. I found the museum to be interesting and definitely saw how the museum has changed and still tried to keep a part of its History. After getting some lunch, we headed over to the Pasteur Institute for a guided tour. I was a little shocked at how many materials were preserved from Pasteur. I found it just as interesting as walking through Down House in London and liked being able to compare the two different houses and the experiences of the different scientists. Finally, we finished the day with a trip to Musée des Arts et Metiers which was also guided. I really enjoyed the tour guide and the museum. Although I was thoroughly exhausted, as was most of the class, the guide tried to be engaging and was very informational. I also found a third statute of liberty right outside the museum.


March 16th, 2019:

The last day was a little crazy as there were multiple protests taking place and some turned violent. Because the city was actually on fire at one point, I decided to stay close to the hotel and visit some of the local museums and get some souvenirs. I started off by going to the Pantheon and was able to see the graves for Rousseau and Voltaire and other important French figures. I was once again blown away by the building and the sculptures inside it. I was particularly fond of the statute for the French Revolution. Next, I went to the museum of the history of medicine. I found this museum particularly interesting because I had taken a history of western medicine course last spring. Although most of the exhibits were related to discoveries and French practitioners, I was still able to make connections between the class and the museum. I even was able to see the first sphygmomanometer which was one of the leading changes to collecting structured data for patient care. After visiting the history of medicine museum, I headed back towards Notre Dame and visited the Holocaust memorial. I am glad I was able to see this as it reminded me of one of the darkest points of history. One of the exhibits was a map of France and the number of people that were taken from different areas of the country, some were over 100. I finished off the day by walking around and getting some souvenirs and trying some different sweets.


London: March 9th – 12th

March 9th, 2019:

I was so excited to finally get off the plane and be in London. I had always wanted to go since my last name is England and the country side was absolutely beautiful. I really enjoyed being able to see the town that Darwin had spent most of his life with his family. I also was able to try fish and ships for the first time. The highlight of my day was getting to walk through Down House and learn more about Darwin before his theory of evolution through natural selection and which events helped him solidify his theory. I also found it interesting to see how the family operated and to the grave of his daughter that had shaped his life.

March 10th, 2019:

I really enjoyed being able to go to the British Museum and seeing how much culture, even though it was stolen, was living in the rooms. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Rosetta Stone and the other Egyptian pieces that were on exhibit. I also enjoyed getting to see the different Roman sculpture that were on display. I thought they were absolutely gorgeous. Lastly, I enjoyed being able to walk through the Chinese exhibits and learn about Eastern culture that I do not get a chance to focus on while in school. I then headed to Camden Market for lunch with some classmates.


Camden Market was interesting to compare to other markets that I had been to in the US. I also enjoyed getting to see the different performers and shops that were open. We had seen someone dressed up as the mad hatter and also got to experience serial cafe, which has a bunch of different types of cereal. After getting some lunch, I headed off to the London Zoo and spark my interest for the paradigm shift I had selected. I was a little shocked at how upfront some of the exhibits were about how human actions were ruining some species. For instance, one of the exhibits was just an alligator handbag with a sign that explained how it was hunting and retail that had driven the specific species to extinction. After visiting the zoo, we headed back to the hotel to get ready to go to Bread Street Kitchen, a Gordon Ramsey restaurant.


I was the most excited to go to the Gordon Ramsey restaurant. I had just finished watching this past season of Hell’s Kitchen with my boyfriend and needed some serious bragging rights. The food was absolutely delicious and came out within five minutes. We had talked to the floor manager about how we were visiting from the US and had ordered some desserts. Unfortunately, our desserts had taken twice as long as they were suppose to so they had given us them for free and even sent out additional ones so we could try some sticky pudding. It was probably the best thing I had eaten while in London.


March 11th, 2019:

I started off the day with a trip to Borough Market and got some lunch. I decided to try the meat pie with mash. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it had actually tasted. It was a little difficult to eat but was very delicious. We then took a trip over to London bridge and walked towards downtown. We were able to see the skyline of London, including the shard and the London eye. We even went and walked across Tower Bridge to see the Natural History Museum.


The Natural History Museum was my favorite museum that I had seen while abroad. I was in awe when I first walked into the museum and saw the giant skeleton of a blue whale in this great bug hall. I was impressed at how many complete skeletons they had on display and the condition of the specimens. Even more surprising was how informational the biology exhibits were compared to some of the other museums I have seen here in the US. However, I was most in awe of the Vault, a collection of precious gems. One of the exhibits housed every single color of diamond possible. We ended the day with a trip to Harrods to see how poor we actually were.

March 12th, 2019:

Westminster Abbey was extremely beautiful. Although we were not allowed to take pictures inside of the building, I wish I could post some in here. I was extremely surprised at how many different nooks where in the cathedral. I was also surprised at how much history was crammed into the cathedral. The guide was extremely helpful and informative. I really enjoyed being able to go up into the London Eye as well. Even though it was very gloomy all day, I was excited to be able to see the entire city at once.


The Royal Society tour after lunch was very interesting. I really liked the guide and felt like she was very involved in the proceedings of the Society and had a passion for its mission. I was excited to see the archives that they had out on display for us and the various rooms that were obtained by the Society. The building was just as beautiful as some of the archives they had. It was also interesting to learn about the different members of the Society and its history. Finally, we finished the time in London with a group dinner to a very delicious restaurant.

Musse de l’homme

I enjoyed learning about the museum of mankind this past lecture. The lecture reminded me of topics I had learned in other classes such as my biology class and a history of medicine class I had taken last year. I thought it was interesting to gain a perspective from more of an anthropology mindset. I have always found anthropology interesting and enjoy watching media that have characters and topics related to anthropology. I think it is important to know how people lived and were treated. I also think it is very important to know what has happened historically and the dark corners of each field that are present.

Pasteur Make up

I was disappointed I was not able to attend Dr. Alber’s lecture on Pasteur. I was looking forward to it after seeing the movie on Pasteur the previous day. I found the movie intriguing as it gave character to Pasteur and still gave the facts about his work with germ theory and vaccines. The most interesting part of the movie for me was when they did the experiment with the sheep between those that were vaccinated and those that were not. I think I found the topic so interesting because there are still many people today that refuse to vaccinate based on various reasons. I think the experiment, although found in the movie, still has relevant topics in today’s world and could benefit anyone willing to watch the film.

Because I was unable to attend the lecture portion, I read the article Pasteur and the art of chirality. I am still confused as to what chirality is but gained a deeper understanding of the topic ad how it relates to Pasteur. Chirality was one of Pasteur’s first discoveries as a young recent PhD graduate. He noticed how two different substances had similar molecules, but where mirror reflections of each other, thus leading to different characteristics. The article explains how Pasteur’s predecessors had missed this and what may have contributed to his discovery. One of the contributions mentioned is simply that he picked two substances that could be compared in the right way. Another influence was that of Sir John Frederick William Herschel who believed their was asymmetry in the universe. Finally, the paper discussed how Pasteur’s artistic abilities and his sense of realism in art contributed in his ability to notice the mirror images in the crystals. I found it interesting to learn about Pasteur’s other discoveries as well as his other hobbies that helped him achieve his discoveries.

Dr. Douglas Kinghorn

One of the topics I often seem to neglect when I think of healthcare are the topics surrounding pharmacology. When I think of medicine, I tend to focus on more of the therapy and surgical side of treatment, some of which is only possible because of advances we have made in pharmacology. Dr. Kinghorn gave an interesting lecture on paradigm shifts related to plants and their medicinal benefits. I found this lecture intriguing because I tend to forget about how plants play a role in medicine.

Dr. Kinghorn talked about how different scientists, mostly botanists, have developed the field of pharmacology. While I am taking a pharmacology class currently, we tend to focus on the current topics in a broad scope so it was interesting to just hear about the history and how plants have been involved. I thought the discussion on opium was particularly interesting because I had just done lectures for pain management in the class previously mentioned.

Finally, I thought it was interesting to hear from Dr. Kinghorn about different places to visit while we are abroad that related to his topic. It was also good to hear from someone who grew up in the country we are going to visit and his ideas on their current political and social environment.

Dale and Fossils

I have always thought fossils were fascinating and the amount of information that can be gathered from them. However, I never really understood the process for scientists, such as paleontologists, to confirm characteristics that are not associated with the skeletal structure of the organisms. The talk given by Dale Gnidovec, the curator for Orton Hall, gave me insight on the processes related to finding fossils, skeletons, etc. to understand extinct species.

I found Dale to be very engaged and excited about his work. I could also tell that he wanted to provide a deeper understanding to the past and how the field has progressed as a whole. I thought it was particularly interesting how the idea of a fossil record was theorized, something I had not really given much thought to since middle school when first learning about fossils. One thing that always baffled me was how we know that certain dinosaurs have feathers or other characteristics. After asking Dale, he explained how they can look at the structure of the bones and compare to species today that have similar characteristics. Also, he said sometimes they get lucky and there are feathers in the fossils themselves that get preserved. Finally, I found it interesting when Dale went over his trip with the program in the past and gave some ideas about places to visit.

Dr. Otter and Thomas Kuhn

Dr. Otter gave an interesting discussion on paradigm shifts with a focus on themes from Thomas Kuhn’s book, The Structure of  Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn’s book is a particularly challenging book to understand as it brings to light a new vocabulary with complex ideas. Dr. Otter gave valuable insight on these complex ideas that Kuhn lays out. One of the main points that Dr. Otter explained was the idea of a paradigm shift and what it is described as in Kuhn’s book. Dr. Otter also went on to explain how Kuhn describes the evolution of science as a nonlinear path, but rather one with high and lows in scientific discovery and achievement. I thought it was interesting how Dr. Otter was able to bring down Kuhn’s ideas to a more understandable level. I found it difficult to comprehend everything that Kuhn had written. However, I was able to understand the general ideas that Kuhn was getting at. It was extremely helpful though for Dr. Otter to come in, as he was able to fill in some of the gaps to the reading that I had when I first read Kuhn’s first couple of chapters.

Black Holes | Dr. Mathur

Dr. Mathur gave a lecture on the various paradigm shifts in physics that have developed over the years, especially the ideology surrounding black holes. With each new discover, there has been almost an entire shift on the mechanics of black holes. Dr. Mathur specifically talked about Stephen Hawking and his discover of Hawking Radiation. I thought it was particular interesting when Dr. Mathur was talking about his encounters with Hawking and how he gained fame in the science community. Finally, I also found it interesting to learn about how black holes form and the various discoveries that have been made in physics.

Religion | Matt Goldish

Tuesday’s lecture by Matt Goldish focused on the ties between religion and science. Goldish began the lecture by mentioning the author Dan Brown and his book, Angels and Demons. One of the quotes Goldish provided talked about how religion has always had it out for science dating back to Galileo. However, as Goldish argues, the fabrication of this war of religion and science has been concocted since the 19th century by writers and the like. Goldish supported his argument by providing details about Nicolaus Copernicus and his discoveries in the field of astronomy. Copernicus was a priest in the church who was enlisted by the Pope to figure out a new calendar system that would correct issues associated with the Julian calendar. While Copernicus’s work was considered the first event of the scientific revolution, there were still holes into the explanation of why the planets moved the way Copernicus proposed. This ideology is due to the ideology of trying to save the phenomenon as mentioned in Thomas Kuhn’s book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which talks heavily about paradigm shifts in the scientific community.

Goldish also mentioned the work of Johannes Kepler and how he was involved with religion and science. Kepler was a Lutheran who was the first person to discover mathematical facts that were always correct in relation to astronomy. Kepler talked heavily about how God had given him the tools and is revealing the truth to him. However, Kepler also had issues giving up the ideology that the world was surrounded by spheres and explaining retrograde motion of the planets. He decided that the path must be elliptical, not spherical and that the relationship is between the geometric solids. Goldish continued his lecture with examples from Galileo and Newton that show that they too were deeply religious scientists.

Overall, it is clear, based on Goldish’s lecture that religion and science are indeed not at war. Many of the great scientific names we all know were involved with the church in one form or another. It would be absurd to say that the church was not the center of scientific knowledge and achievement in the early years.

Women in Science – Dr. Breitenberger

Dr. Breitenberger gave an interesting lecture on the influence of women in science, including the history of some key players. The most interesting woman Dr. Breitenberger discussed, in my personal opinion, was Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673). Cavendish was a philosopher and writer who wrote about naturalism. I found it particularly humorous that if other philosophers, who were mostly male, would not responded to her discussion, she would publish critiques to a fictitious correspondent as if they had responded. Cavendish also caused an uproar for being invited to the Royal Society. Cavendish was my favorite because she did not gender roles and social expectations stop her from contributing to science. Although times have changed quite significantly since Cavendish’s time, there are still struggles for woman scientists due to societal expectations. Although Dr. Breitenberger discussed how few women in science there are in history, I was still surprised by the amount of women who were mentioned and thoroughly enjoyed getting to learn about their contributions.