Buried in (the) Abbey
I couldn’t decide between the previous description or “Gabby in (the) Abbey,” but Westminster Abbey stole my heart! Maybe it was our enthusiastic tour guide, or simply all of the Abbey’s history and glory, but my mind has been buried in the Abbey ever since! I thought it was amazing how many people are literally buried in the Abbey. From notable scientists like Darwin, Hawking, and Newton to amazing writers like Charles Dickens or urban myths like Bloody Mary, the Abbey has them all! I’m just still amazed to this day how one building can hold so much history all in one.
Gimme that Filet-O-Fish
One very important aspect of traveling and experiencing another’s culture is the food. Going into the trip, I became pescatarian for Lent and hadn’t eaten meat (other than fish) for about 2 weeks. Although I was guilty and devoured several meat pies while in London, I was happy to see so many options for pescatarians, vegans, and vegetarians! Although restaurants in the US are becoming more friendly to various dietary restrictions, I felt as if London was ahead of the game and had a lot more to offer. I’ve only recently began exploring different types of fish, and I’m happy to say that I was able to do so with London’s fish n’ chips.
The Little Things
In life, it’s the little things that count. As we can see in the midst of a pandemic, it truly is the little things (like a virus or our day to day actions) that make all the difference. Since we weren’t allowed to go to France, I wasn’t able to use Louis Pasteur and his invention of the rabies vaccine like I was planning to do so for my project. However, I ended up switching my project to the Zoology Museum in London (where this photo was taken), and really enjoyed myself! When you realize that life can be boiled down to something that can be viewed on a microscope slide, you realize that the little things are of much higher importance.
I learned a great deal from the OSU History Project! Not only do I now know who the “Feline Lifesaver” is (aka: Dr. Richard Olsen), but now I also know about the first, all-female research team sent to the Arctic, the invention of the ambulance, etc. It’s crazy to think that all these historic innovations and feats were made here, at Ohio State. I’ve never really recognized how prestigious OSU really was until this project. It really puts things into perspective, prompting the realization that us undergraduate students have the potential of adding to OSU’s history.
I greatly appreciated how we were able to select on own topics; I found my research on Dr. Richard Olsen and the invention of the feline leukemia vaccine very interesting! I’m now way more knowledgeable of of how this vaccine, which I’ve been prepping for the last two summers as a veterinary assistant, actually functions within the body. In keeping with this theme of veterinary vaccines, I plan on researching Louis Pasteur and the rabies vaccine for my final project while abroad.
Lastly, I appreciated that our History of OSU project was a group effort. Although I was hesitant at first and questioned how everything would be put together, the fact that this was a group project not only made it easier to make connections/see the various overlapping within the history of OSU, but encouraged us to work together and get to know our classmates before we embark to a foreign country with them. Overall, I learned a great deal and am looking forward toward my final project.
I found Dr. Samir Mathur’s presentation very informative. Prior to his presentation, my prior knowledge of what a black hole was that it is a “black form in space.” I had no idea that a black hole is actually a star that has collapsed on itself. I now know that as the star begins to shrink in on itself, it’s gravity and pressure increases (due to the Pauli-exclusion Principle), it becomes a neutron star, and begins to spin very quickly. As the neutron star continues to shrink to a central point, its density is infinite; this is how black hole forms.
I also live under a rock and actually had no idea exactly what Stephen Hawking was famous for. I can remember my physic professor reading us a Steven Hawking quote, and thus assumed that he was a physicist. I now know that Stephen Hawking is famous for discovering that blackholes violate quantum mechanics and for supporting S. Chandrasekhar’s black hole theory.
In summary, I’m very thankful for Dr. Samir Mathur’s presentation because not only did he catch me up to speed on black holes, but he made me consider just how big our universe is. Like Bryson mentioned in our book, the universe is huge! For example, Dr. Samir Mathur’s taught us that each galaxy has about 100,000,000,000 stars (the size of our Sun). If there are 100,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy and many other galaxies in the universe, there’s a lot of space out there! It just helps you put into perspective how insignificant we really are in this big universe around us.
Dr. Douglas Kinghorn’s presentation on medicinal plants was very interesting! I had no idea that approximately 10,000 of the worlds 300,000 plants are used for medicinal purposes! I feel like we take our modern medicine for granted at times; just thinking about how quick I am to take an Advil whenever I get a headache has me feeling privileged. Roughly 3/4 of the worlds population rely on traditional medicinal plants; it’s hard to even imagine life today without medicine.
I thought the portion of Dr. Douglas Kinghorn’s presentation covering cocaine was specifically interesting. I knew that cocaine was a highly addictive drug, but I didn’t remember it being a drug capable of a numbing effect. For example, Dr. Douglas Kinghorn shared with us that the numbing agents used at the dentist are based upon cocaine. I don’t know how I feel about cocaine being approved by the FDA as a new rug for 2020, but I’m interested to see what the drug will be used for in the future.
Not only did we get to learn about Louis Pasteur on Tuesday, but we also got to get know a little more about Dr. Alber; she’s been with us throughout our whole predeparture process, and it was great to see her have the spotlight and learn a little about where she is from. You can tell she’s passionate and very knowledgable of Pasteur, which makes sense since Pasteur was the chemist to discover germ theory and Dr. Alber is a microbiology professor.
I appreciated that Dr. Alber spent a good majority of her time speaking upon Pasteur’s discoveries that weren’t mentioned in the movie. For example, the movie touched upon how Pasteur developed the vaccine for Anthrax and rabies; however, the film didn’t mention that Pasteur was the first to describe the fermentation of sugars as “living ferment.” He was the first to claim that microorganisms were the cause of chemical change in 1857. Thus, if you think about it, Louis Pasteur is the super hero of microbiologist due to his work with microorganisms.
I really appreciated the fact that Dr. Cogan asked us to reflect upon what factors attribute to a scientific revolution. When it comes to the background of the scientists of the time, they tended to be wealthy, educated males who were naturally curious and competitive, wanting all the recognition for themselves. The state of the field of scientific study was also very exclusive, with the many scientific cohorts, and the majority of the discoveries at the time were accidental. However, I was taken back when Dr. Cogan asked whether all the greatest discoveries have already been made. Today, we can’t tinker around in our kitchen and make a new discovery; it’s already been done. Yet, there’s still so much about space, the ocean, etc. that remains unknown. Thus, are there more scientific revolutions to come? Are we technically already apart of a scientific revolution currently as we speak?
I really appreciated the fact that Dr. Breitenberger took the time to research and present notable women in science. Although women have been entering the STEMM field at a more elaborate rate now a days, men still dominate the STEMM field. Like Dr. Breitenberger mentioned, this dominance can be partly attributed to the gender roles seen throughout our history, leading to many scientific findings discovered by women being accredited to men. For example, although Caroline Herschel was the original discoverer of the periodic comet in 1789, Roger Rigollet rediscovered the comet in 1939 and thus the comet was named 35P/Herschel-Rigollet. Again, we see this with Rosalind Franklin, who’s X-ray crystallography was essential to the understanding of the structure of DNA, not being credited for the discovery of the double helix. (As we know, Watson and Crick are accredited with this discovery.)
The discussion of Mary Anning caught my attention the most, however. We were first introduced to Marry Anning during Dr. Dale Gnidiovic’s presentation, then again in Bryson’s book. I’m amazed by how young she was when she was accredited with the discovery of the first ichthyosaur and how detailed her excavations were for being self-taught with minimal tools. Thus, I’m excited to see Mary Annig’s discoveries in the Natural History Museum when we travel to London!