The little things
I got to visit the famous water pump from the third cholera pandemic. Supposedly, this little pump caused the outbreak in London, which I learned was not true. However, the small action of John Snow removing the handle greatly reduced the cases in SoHo. Sometimes small actions have greater impact. I this trip we were constantly telling each other to wash our hands, not to touch the escalators in the tube, and use hand sanitizer (because nature is dirty). We were only asking each other to do small things, but as of 3/27, none of us have gotten sick. This caption also applies to other aspects of the trip. I enjoyed so many of the little things London had to offer. On my adventure to the water pump, I found a book store off the beaten path and just sat in there for awhile.
All roads lead
The first couple of days on the trip, I didn’t really know how to navigate. Kelly and I ate at the Dog and Duck ONE time. And the rest of the trip, if we were walking around, we would always end up across the street from this pub. This made me believe the phrase “all roads lead to Rome” is actually “all roads lead to the dog and duck”. But as I kept winding up near this pub, I realized how many things are actually near the Dog and Duck (still don’t know why its famous). John Snow’s first private practice is actually next to this pub. His water pump is two blocks away.
Larger than life
The one thing I wanted to do in London was see & Juliet, the story of what would Juliet do lived. And I loved this show. However, during intermission, I got the news that we would be staying in London and didn’t know when our flight was. I kept hearing people say that what was happening, the cancelations, the uncertainty, was out of a sci fi movie. That the situation was larger than life. However, if the trip to France wasn’t canceled, I never would’ve seen stone henge, Cambridge, or Alexander Fleming’s laboratory. We took a chance in the face of a bad situation, like Juliet, and the had an amazing time.
I was aware of some of the History of OSU from it being the 15oth anniversary, but I was unaware of some of the discoveries and advancements made here, such as the first ambulance or the 22nd amino. I really enjoyed getting to know some of the history of campus. Overall I thought everyone did a great job presenting their research. I particularly liked how history of science at OSU group had small transitions in between to give context for the next topic. It was different from ours which was just a short pause and a new person started to talk. I also liked how they were able to get all the topics to align with each other to form a cohesive story about science at OSU.
I enjoyed learning about the women who went to Antarctica. Doing the research on them and the struggles the faced was really inspiring. They did what they were told was impossible, and as a women in the STEM field, I am grateful they were able to pave the way for more women to get to Antarctica.
Dr. Mathur’s talk was very fascinating. I was first introduced to Stephen Hawking when I read selected chapters from his book “Black holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays”. I was so fascinated by his ideas about black holes. Dr. Mathur was able to explain black holes in a way his audience would understand. As Hawking is a little hard to understand at times, I really appreciated his talk. Another book I read by Hawking that is fascinating and I recommend everyone read is “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” published after his death. In it, he attempts to answer many of the questions humans and science have about the universe. It is divided into Why are we here? Will we survive? Will technology save us or destroy us? and How can we thrive?. In it he goes into the mechanics of black holes. I guess that is his way of defending his theory. Form Dr Mathur’s lecture, String Theory attempts to invalidate black holes and present a different solution. Because physics can’t have infinity as a solution.
I really liked Dr. Kinghorn’s talk. I absolutely love the field of pharmacy and enjoy learning about different aspects everyday. I knew a lot of pharmacy was based in plants, but 10,000 is a huge number. I liked hearing about many of our numbing agents and painkillers evolved throughout time to get what we use today. For example, how opium started as a powder and then was refined until we got morphine. I did not know the French did a lot of work with medicinal plants, especially in developing the taxonomic naming system we use today. The idea of botanical gardens as an education tool for medicinal plants was something I did know about. Dr. Abbott who when on to found Abbott Labs had a garden where he grew many of the plants he used in his pharmacy. I had the pleasure of visiting the replica of his house and grounds when I worked at AbbVie Pharmaceuticals.
Last semester, I took a class on the history of vaccinations. We learned a lot about Pasteur’s experimental methods for developing the anthrax vaccine and the rabies vaccine. Dr. Alber discussed why Pasteur got into the field of microbiology, which was completely by accident. He just saw parallels from his field of chemistry in other realms of science and tried to make connections. I am really glad Dr. Alber brought this up because most of the time, it seems Pasteur just set out to disprove spontaneous generation and make vaccines. But he had motivations behind each thing he did. And each experiment grew out of previous ideas he had. He was very good at recognizing patterns and applying them to there places, for example, how he proved crystals were asymmetric, but only one form is found in nature. He then used this idea when he was trying to understand fermentation in wine and beer.
I really enjoyed Dr. Cogan’s lecture on the Discovery of Oxygen. In my classics class recently, we discussed Greek and Roman understanding of science and the elements. This really played into the discussion of “How would you describe what air is made of without drawing on our understanding today?”. The Greeks knew it was an element, but believed something else “gave life” to animals and humans. It is fascinating to think about how things we would consider simple today (like what air is made of) had to be discovered at one point or another. I also enjoyed our discussion on what goes into a scientific revolution. Because it is not just science. There are social and political influences (such as figuring out how to mass produce penicillin to treat Allied Troops during World War II). There are also economic influences that go into a scientific revolution. During the period of time Priestly and Lavoisier, one had to have some sort of economic income to be allowed to pursue scientific discovery in their free time.
I really enjoyed Dr. Breitenberger’s presentation on women scientists in Europe. I thought that I would know most of them, but she presented many that I didn’t know, such as Mary Anning and Marie-Anne Livoisier. Although they were both mentioned briefly in Bryson’s book, I had never heard about them outside of this class. I am glad Dr. Breitenberger thought it was important for the class to learn about some Women in STEM and their contributions. For both projects, I am hoping to focus on women in science as it is a topic I am really passionate about. I think it is important to draw attention to their accomplishments, especially as more women are entering the STEM field. This presentation gave me more women to potentially focus on besides some of the more well known scientists such as Rosalind Franklin and Marie Curie.
I really enjoyed Dale Gnidovec’s talk on fossils. Paleontology is something that I do not really know a lot about, so I appreciated that he was so passionate and excited to talk to us about fossils and minerals. I liked how he related all the fossils he saw in the London and Paris Museums back to Ohio. It makes me excited to go and visit those museums when I am abroad in March. His talked lined up nicely with the later chapters in the book related to geology and paleontology. Sometimes reading about rocks and fossils is not very interesting. Having a lecture on it from Gnidovec expanded upon several ideas in the book. One thing from his lecture that was interesting was the state of Ohio was world famous for specific fossils like the Mastadon. I also found it interesting that the Cryolophosaurus skeleton at the front of the building was found in Antarctica, and the original bones are now housed at the Chicago Field Museum.
Dr. Anelli’s talk was very insightful into the “inter-workings of Darwin”. I feel that we most often learn about Darwin in the context of his book “On The Origin of the Species”. Before watching starting this class, to me Darwin was the guy who developed the theory of evolution based on his observations of finches while traveling aboard the HMS Beagle. Both the movie and Dr. Anelli added more context the world Darwin was living in as well as how much work went into writing his famous book. A lot of Darwin’s work was based on some of the revolutionary ideas of the period, including the work on the rock cycle and the old age of Earth done by Hutton. This work was expanded upon by Lyell, a contemporary of Darwin. I also enjoyed learning about Darwin’s relationship with his wife and children. To me, it seems like he loved his children and encouraged them to think for themselves and to be as curious about the world as he was.
I found Dr. Jan Weisenberger’s talk on the history of OSU in the wake of the 150 anniversary very enlightening. I knew about some of the innovations that OSU faculty had contributed to during that time, such as coating the cone of the Drumstick with chocolate to prevent ice cream from leaking. But a lot of the discoveries I had not known about. One of which was the all women expedition to Antarctica. I enjoyed seeing how OSU grew from an unfinished building where research was done without any labs to the research institution it is today. I also liked how she talked about the women who made scientific contributions through our 150 years as a university. Her talk sparked my continued interest to the contributions women have made to science, especially at Ohio State.