Looking Back: Seeing the Science of My Childhood

Gene silencingScience is all around us— in everything we touch, smell, taste and see. It is in the flowers in our gardens, the molecules of pollen and oils that give those flowers scent, the crystals of sodium chloride that gives our food flavor and the way light is bent and changed to give our world color. There is science in the way we look like our great-great grandmother, and science in the way we are so different from each other. As the granddaughter of a forester and a botanist and the daughter of a science teacher, there has been science in my life for as long as I can remember. Recently my parents moved to a retirement home, and as I spent time helping them downsize, I took pictures of some of the ‘science’ that surrounded my as I grew up.

To start, there is “old brassy”, the first microscope I ever used. This microscope, and it’s slightly more modern cousin held places of honor on shelves in my father’s den.microscopes

Held in wooden boxes next to the microscopes were test tubes containing all sorts of mysterious things, including samples gathered by my grandfather while he was a forester in Louisiana. Continue reading “Looking Back: Seeing the Science of My Childhood”

With Just a Smile, Our Hearts Beat as One

Every morning, as I’m in the bathroom getting ready for work, my husband goes and collects our five-month-old daughter from the bedroom as soon as he hears the half-hearted fussing indicating she’s woken up. It’s become our routine that he brings her out to say good morning to me, her face still bearing the vestiges of sleep, her eyes squinting into the light. Shielding her eyes with his hand, he’ll say brightly, “Here’s Mama!” and I stop whatever I’m doing to give her a huge smile, grab and kiss her pajama-clad feet and welcome her enthusiastically into the new day (even if I’m a bit bleary-eyed and not feeling all that enthusiastic myself). Invariably, she rewards me with a huge, face-scrunching grin, wrinkling her nose and opening her mouth wide — as close as she can get at this point to a reciprocal “Good morning, Mama!” We trade big smiles back and forth for a few moments, and then Daddy takes her in for the much-needed diaper change. Continue reading “With Just a Smile, Our Hearts Beat as One”