London, London, and London Highlights

Location: Abbey Road
Always look right

A lot of us on this trip not only have a passion for science and its history, but we also have a fascination with London’s musical past. Having the opportunity to visit one of music’s greatest landmarks was incredible (except for the busy road we happened to be on!). This picture turned out great, but like anywhere else in England, you have to look  right instead of left before you cross – something we finally got used to right before we returned to the US!

Location: Stonehenge
Explore our history

The whole purpose of this trip was to explore our scientific history. Going to museums and exploring London was absolutely amazing, but having the opportunity to see one of the greatest wonders of the world took it to a whole new level. I thoroughly enjoyed the extra moments we were able to experience through the extension of our stay in London!

Location: The Eagle
Take every opportunity

This picture was taken inside The Eagle, which, to us science nerds, created an unmatched level of excitation and awe. How many other people have been to the bar where Watson and Crick were regulars?? Being able to go to Cambridge and be in the environment where so many of the greats started out was something we wouldn’t have been able to do if we left London on Wednesday; we truly made the best of our situation and took every opportunity to learn more and gain incredible experiences!

History of OSU Project Reflection

I really enjoyed the history of OSU project! It was nice to collaborate with other students in our class to get to know them better and make a great group project. It was nice to have class time to collaborate! I think the amount of time we were given in class was sufficient because we figured out the topic and who was doing what, then we assigned an order for the final project and everything else was on our own. It was a very simple and efficient process!

I don’t have any serious improvements for the project going forward other than perhaps some clearer (or more direct) instructions for us, I felt like we were kind of winging it and hoping for the best (which actually ended up being fun, but it was mildly confusing in the beginning!). I edited the project and learned a very quick 5 minute how-to on iMovie – thanks, Emma! I had used it before, but putting so many different files together was a whole new beast to conquer! So was looking at the file size, apparently…

For the next project, I hope to keep the collaboration with others going. It makes it more fun and interesting to work with others! In Europe, I will be sure to take as many opportunities as possible to take some videos and make content for the final project. I have loved this class and learning the history of science, I can’t wait to learn more abroad!

Dr. Mathur Reflection – Hawking

I vaguely knew what a black hole was; a dense tiny ball of what I thought was anti-matter? It doesn’t seem terribly relevant because Dr. Mathur did an incredible job of breaking this incredibly difficult physics concept down to something that made sense to someone who has NEVER taken a physics class…

I found it really interesting that there was so much progress made on the topic of black holes by just one person. Though I did have a vague idea of what a black hole was, I had zero clue that this was the topic of Hawking’s research, and what presumably made him so famous. The man is more brilliant than I even thought – I was looking through the book he wrote with a colleague and my head hurt just looking at the calculations. It is so crazy to me that an actual human mind came up with this theory and had enough mathematical evidence to publish it. I imagine the feeling I had reading his book is comparable to the feeling that people had reading Newton’s book a couple centuries ago!

Another bit I found intriguing during Dr. Mathur’s talk was string theory. He briefly summed it up, but it kind of caught me off guard that he was teaching every bit of Hawking’s work and discussed how incredible it was that he had this breakthrough, but Dr. Mathur doesn’t believe it himself! How crazy is that? I found that maybe the emphasis was more on how genius Hawking truly was, not that scientists today are trying to prove him wrong.

I would love to visit the spot Hawking walked along on the river, maybe I can channel some of his genius for my midterm after break… (haha)

Dr. Kinghorn Medicinal Plants Reflection

This is a very interesting presentation because Dr. Kinghorn is making some really cool connections from medicinal plant science to the history of drugs to the problems that we still have today. It’s interesting to think that drugs and the industry are constantly changing and every drug has connections to practical uses (i.e. cocaine -> novocaine). It is interesting that it is so frequent to see a drug considered to have very negative effects on humans and then be somehow transformed into glaucoma medication, for example.  I also really love to see  him show the organic structures for the drugs  because it’s fun to see them show up in a real life application. The detail about knowing the scientist who discovered a cancer treatment is incredible! Ohio State really has some marvelous faculty with incredible connections.

One of my favorite points he made was that you “don’t need a large group of people to make a remarkable discovery”. Three people won a Nobel Prize for two different drugs that treated completely different things – the first woman from China, even! He made mention of the fact that it took them a very long time to make their discoveries. I think this just proves the point further that yes there was a small group of them, but they must have been diligent and passionate about their work to warrant such success.

I really appreciate Dr. Kinghorn’s recommendations for going to botanical gardens in England because I love walking through these! I imagine the gardens in Europe will be a bit different than the ones on the US and I really hope that I get to visit one while abroad. He gave a very interesting and informative presentation. I really enjoyed listening!

(It was also amusing to me that Cuvier came up yet again!)

Dr. Alber Pasteur Discussion

I really enjoyed Dr. Alber’s discussion las Tuesday! Talking about the historical relevance of Pasteur’s findings (like the Franco-Prussian war) and the reason he moved back to Arbois (because of the loss of said war) was incredibly fascinating to me. Learning more about Louis Pasteur’s life added more “realness” to Louis as a person; I think many times we think of great scientific discoverers as only the scientists who discovered vaccines, for example, and not as real people who had other things going on in their lives. Knowing he had a son in the war, and that he was patriotic, and that he worked to improve French beer so as to “not rely on Germany” just makes him more human in my brain than his portrayal in the movie as a diligent scientist whipping up vaccines.

Another bit of information Dr. Alber brought up was that he was the one who discovered stereoisomers in chemistry. He really had a breadth of discovery in his time and dabbled in a lot of different things. Seeing someone who was making discoveries purely out of curiosity was so cool because he was curious about practically everything. Catalysts, microorganisms, vaccines, stereochemistry, fermentation – practically the entire spectrum of science in just one lifetime. Incredible!

Dr. Cogan Reflection

Watching the episode of the documentary pertaining to the scientists Priestly and Lavoisier gave us a really good introduction to what we would discuss during Dr. Cogan’s talk. It is a little creepy that killing spiders in jars lead to the idea of air, but on the other hand it is interesting to think about how little knowledge they had on the topic. Thinking about the elements of a scientific revolution threw a lot of us off; I’m not sure any of us had put a whole lot of thought towards it? The word “revolution” makes it seem like it would be an Earth-shattering discovery, but in reality it’s just curiosity given the proper means to be explored. Revolutions still happen everyday, and it’s thanks to the early navigators of science that we are still able to make discoveries and students are given the means to know more in a single semester than a lot of people in the 18th century knew their entire lives.

Dr. Breitenberger Reflection

Something I have always gravitated towards in science are the discoveries made by women – I find them so inspiring! Naturally, I enjoyed this discussion because it fit really well with the Bryson book and with my own interests. Something I look forward to is to find some of the mentioned women in museums in Europe. Having relativity to what we will be exploring makes the places we visit a lot more meaningful. Recognizing the history of women in science, as well as acknowledging why they aren’t given credit, is important for the future of women in science (including us!). Thank you, Dr. Breitenberger, for the inspiring discussion and the enlightening information. I can’t wait to do more research abroad!

Dr. Gnidovec Reflection

I really enjoyed Dr. Gnidovec’s talk! Going to Orton hall was a new experience for me as well – I was not expecting to see a dinosaur when I walked in… Learning about the prehistoric nature of the world, especially with relation to Ohio, was something I didn’t expect to find interesting, but I was pleasantly surprised. Dr. Gnidovec is very passionate about fossils and I think his passion is what made it all so intriguing! After his talk, I definitely want to go to some of the museums he mentioned that were in London and Paris (specifically the room of skeletons). I look forward to seeking some of the connections to Ohio in other countries as well (how cool?). He really opened my eyes to geology and I can’t wait to learn more!

Dr. Carol Anelli – Darwin Reflection

The movie “Creation” really tends to focus in on the short period of time where Darwin was deciding on publishing his work; don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly interesting, but there was a bit of background information that I felt I was missing. That is where Dr. Anelli came in! I really enjoyed her presentation because not only was it relevant to what we were learning (and reading), but it filled in the blanks for information we might have pondered. Scientists and their lives are so interesting!

As for the three movie reviews, they are very different. One says the movie is filmed sort of like a “Gothic horror movie”; I can kind of see this perspective. The haunting of his dead daughter, the delirium that was caused by his scientific works, the constant thoughts entering his mind – I can see how these were portrayed in a horror movie fashion. The second review says the story was told “with restraint”; I don’t particularly agree with this perspective. The only thing I felt the movie held back on was the background knowledge or other useful information the viewer might have enjoyed. That being said, the director was respectful towards Charles’ burdens and portrayed them in a realistic way. The third review says it was a “sensitive” portrayal. This review isn’t very deep, so I’m not entirely sure what they mean by this. I think the movie was actually rather dark and even heavy at times, but it contained sensitive topics I suppose? I can find ways in which I agree and disagree with all three of these reviews. The “Gothic horror movie” is the most interesting perspective, and I like to look at it in that light!