Archive for the ‘passions’ Category

Overcoming challenges. Being challenged to overcome. This is the topic for April’s edition of Scientiae, and I received an overwhelming response of your varied tales of challenge and triumph. Further proof that all of us are capable of facing our problems head-on and growing into wiser, more competent people.

The carnival is based out of Candid Engineer’s blog : http://candidengineer.blogspot.com/2009/04/april-scientiae-we-rise-up.html

These carnivals are a wealth of inspiration and often thought-provoking – check them out! You may find some kindred souls….


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Here is a new blog (All my faults are stress related) on Science Blogs from a structural geologist – in her “about me” description she tells of the winding path she took to get to this career:

I became a structural geologist by accident. I meant to study chemistry, but chemists spent too much time inside. Then I meant to be an environmental geochemist, but somewhere along the way I discovered that rocks are fascinating and gorgeous. So I decided to study metamorphic rocks, which still involves a lot of chemistry. But I got distracted by the question of how metamorphic rocks get buried and exhumed, and that led to studying how rocks get squashed.

What ever gets your rocks off!!

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Lisa Balbes has just compiled a long list of quite famous folk who studied chemistry at some point in their lives:

Some used their chemistry as a stepping stone for future careers such as Isaac Asimov and astronauts, Catherine Coleman and Anna Lee Fisher. Others stepped away from chemistry to pursue other passions: arts (e.g. Primo Levi and Frank Capra), business and politics (e.g. Janet Reno and Margaret Thatcher), as well as scientific information (Eugene Garfield).

So you can see there are many things you can do if the january blues are hitting you – but try to finish that degree first, just in case…

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Use your chemistry knowledge in the kitchen?
Here are some articles on doing just that:

Food 2.0: Chefs as chemists
By Kenneth Chang Published: November 6, 2007

Chefs are using science not only to better understand their cooking, but also to create new ways of cooking. Elsewhere, chefs have played with lasers and liquid nitrogen. Restaurant kitchens are sometimes outfitted with equipment adapted from scientific laboratories. And then there are hydrocolloids that come in white bottles like chemicals.

Chef becomes chemist
‘Molecular’ food surprises with its intense flavours
Ron Eade, CanWest News Service
Published: Wednesday, April 18

Molecular gastronomy is a term coined in the late 1980s by Herve This, a French scientist, and Nicholas Kurti, a professor of physics at Oxford University. Both men were interested in the chemistry of food preparation, so they dissected popular recipes from cookbooks and examined the culinary techniques in each with all the scientific attention one might lavish on nuclear fission.

Molecular gastronomy is a trendy pursuit where odd combinations and presentations are deliberately theatrical, and every bit contrived.

Molecular gastronomy is flamboyant with its bold use of centrifuges, desiccators, liquid nitrogen and super-blenders to make foams, jellies and globules that are as flavourful as they are far-out.

Atomic chefs
Two B.C. chocolatiers are pioneers in a revolutionary food movement called molecular gastronomy

by ANNE KINGSTON | Feb 13, 2006

Holding a degree in physics or chemistry opens doors for today’s aspiring chefs. Alison Fryer, the manager of Toronto’s Cookbook Store, says when the store opened in 1983 the most prominent chefs — Anne Rosenzweig and Mark Miller — came from backgrounds in anthropology. “Now it’s all coming out of the lab,” she says.

and if you read this far and are still intrigued, here is a new book from Herve This (mentioned above):

Kitchen Mysteries:
Revealing the Science of Cooking

by Herve This
Translated by Jody Gladding

HervĂ© This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. He is the author of Columbia’s Molecular Gastronomy and of several other books on food and cooking. He is a monthly contributor to Pour la Science, the French-language edition of Scientific American.

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Here is a story of a chemist who is multi-talented and used those talents to help others:
Photo book raises money for Haiti
Alecia Settle just planned on helping people in Haiti with a visit to distribute donations – she did not realize that it was going to lead her down the path to publishing books (and to a daughter)!
Visualize Haiti by Alecia Settle

Sometimes a hobby can enrich your life to the point that the career is secondary:

Alecia Settle began her career as a scientist in the Boulder, Colorado biotechnology industry. After authoring numerous scholarly journal articles and related patents, she switched her focus to family and photography. Over the past decade, she has photographed people and places in 15 countries. More recently, she combined photography with her passion for humanitarian work to publish Visualize Haiti with the intent to raise awareness and funds for non-profit work around the globe. Born and raised in Illinois, Alecia now lives with her husband and children in Superior.

Biography from http://www.ci.louisville.co.us/library/htm/BookSigning.html

(additional comment: I bought this book and it is both beautiful and sad – it made me cry…)

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