Saturday, February 26, 2011

She Blinded Me with Science!

Hello blog followers!

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that I've fallen a bit behind on my postings. And I cannot deny it. This semester has proven to be a time-consuming one. Allow me to explain...

Every RD is required to take the same fundamental science courses any other health professional is expected to take. Just like doctors, nurses, physical therapists and pharmacists, RDs must take Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Human Physiology, and Anatomy.

Why so much science? Well, food is really just about digestion. Digestion is really just about metabolism. And metabolism is really just chemistry. So, it's important to grasp the science behind it all. Additionally, food preparation is mostly science too. That cake you nibbled on last night? It rose and baked in an oven due to a complex chain of chemical reactions. That tasty yogurt you had for breakfast? You can thank the microbes for creating it. Even the simple plants we eat, like lettuce and strawberries, only thrive if the right science is in place-- they need sunlight and water and nitrogen to become so tasty.

Now, reasonable people spread their science coursework out over a few years. But, as most of my loyal followers know, I've never been a reasonable person. And due to our roller coaster ride through life that recently deposited us in California, I don't have the luxury of time if I want to finish school before retirement age. So, I've been saturated with science for the next two semesters.

Viewing the world through my lab goggles has not been all bad, however. In fact, far from it! While it is time consuming (goodbye yoga, weekends and Glee), total immersion has helped me relate key concepts between classes, and perhaps become a better learner. It also reminded me just how much I liked science as a kid. It's reminded me just how cool science is, and how important it is in our everyday lives. Exploring the world in which we live can be a positive and enriching experience.

Perhaps science isn't your cup of tea. And that's okay. And perhaps you don't have the means or desire to enroll in an Anatomy and Physiology Lab. But if you are interested in learning a little more about how our world works, especially in a small dose, I recommend the following:

TV-- Nova ScienceNOW airs regularly on PBS. This show is hosted by the very suave and comical Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson. I am not ashamed to admit we have a Tivo season pass. (Yes, Dr. Tyson was the one who downgraded Pluto from a planet to a moon. Don't hold it against him.)

Radio-- I've long been a fan of NPR's Science Friday. And you don't just have to listen on Fridays. Download a podcast for free.

Books-- "Because the Cat Purrs: How We Relate to other Species and Why it Matters" by Janet Lembke is a few years old (published in 2008) but still a wonderful and anecdotal read. Learn about everything from honeybees to house cats, and how we're all connected. Our world isn't so different from the one James Cameron invented in "Avatar"...

Local experiences-- For readers in the Bay area, Chabot Space and Science Center has 2 working telescopes. The observatory is free and open to the public nearly every night. Not local? Check out what your hometown museums have to offer. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you'll learn.