Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Theory of Everything

i bought the DVD of The Theory of Everything, the film about Steven Hawking. Although, this film is based on his life, some parts were obviously dramatised to make it more cinematic. However, I cannot praise this film enough.

Now, when you look at Professor  Hawking, I couldn't imagine his life before his motor neuron disease took hold. I didn't realise that as he was suffering through a diagnosis and a rapid decline in health he battled to gain his doctorate from Cambridge, which started him on the road to decipher the enigmatic concept of time. 

Although this film, was sad in some parts, it was not a tragedy, nor was it a celebration of life, it was a delve deeper into the mind and drive behind Hawking, and a peek at his personal life, which was notoriously hidden from the limelight. 

I'm not a fan of physics, I was good at it, but biology was more my calling, and yet I felt an urge to start looking at physics again in my spare time. Moreover, it has really helped to solidfy my want to do a PhD. Seeing a passion like Stephen's is contagious, I want that level of knowledge and understanding and love of a particular subject area. I want that..

'Science is not only a discipline of reason but also one of romance and passion'  

It's a bumpy ride along the road to discovery!

We always hear of the accidental scientific breakthroughs, take for instance Alexander Flemming and penicillin. This for one has always struck me as being extremely lucky, I always thought that if such a vital drug could be found in such a lackadaisical manner,it makes sense that if you work really hard for a long period of time on one subject, then you are bound to see a new finding on the horizon.

I was wrong.

Very wrong.

Time is a concept which science does not abide by.

I've been working on a singular protein for almost a year now and there hasn't been any glimmers of hope. No eureka moments and no definite answers. It's not to say that I have completely abandoned hope. But I've realised now that science is not just a straight path to the answer, in fact it is a winding one. One that moves you one step forward and three steps back. Nevertheless I think persistence is key.

(I'm still awaiting my eureka moment!)

Friday, 2 January 2015

And a clutch of tadpoles.

It's a new year! Happy 2015, and what could be more joyful than little babies....well in this case, little tadpoles.

It has been realised that the Limnonectes larvaepartus (fanged frog), gives birth to live tadpoles rather than lay unfertilized eggs for a male frog to fertilise. The Limnonectes larvaepartus is a species of fanged frog found in Indonesia.A study in Plos One, has described this phenomenon.

The reason why this method of producing offspring was so shocking to the zoologists is because the vast majority of the frog population-nearly 6.000 frogs-all reproduce externally. The fanged frog is only one of 10-12 species of frog which gives birth to tadpoles rather than baby frogs (froglets) or spawn. It is still unclear as to how the male frog is able to fertilise the eggs which the female produces internally, however I'm sure that as further studies into this species is developed, then the more will be known about the fanged frogs method of reproduction.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

In my sights!

It has a been a while since the last post I have done, it's been a crazy few months, however I am happy to say I am well on my way to becoming a pro at Western blotting.

This week several stories have caught my eye and all of them I find rather interesting.

Doctor, Doctor I have the worst headache, it feels all wriggly.
A 50 year old man, went to his doctor complaining of severe headaches and being able to smell odd odours. His headache went on for years, consequently doctors gave him numerous brain scans to try and pinpoint the cause of his ache. What perplexed the doctors were the ring-like patterns viewed in his brain scans, which moved between each time an MRI scan was taken. The doctors took to a more invasive procedure and found a worm wedged in the man's brain, more specifically in his temporal lobe. The worm was identified as a tapeworm called Spirometra erinaceieuropaei which is indigenous to amphibians and crustaceans. The origin of the man's 4 year problem, was a trip to China.

So kiss me...
A kiss is something which we share to show our affection and our love or lust with someone special, but feelings are not all that is shared. Dutch scientists have run an experiment to count the number of bacteria transferred between people in a 10 second lip lock. The scientists took samples from the volunteers' tongues and saliva directly before and directly after 21 couples kissed. They then got 1 person from each couple to drink a pro-biotic drink. After the 2nd kiss the scientists could detect the number of bacteria transferred from the drinker to the non-drinker. The number was found to be 80 million.

We're lighting up the sky tonight
David Romp from the University of California, has found that for every 1C rise in the world's temperature, the likelihood of lightening strikes will increase by 12%.

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No it's Gecko-man
Geckos are well known for their adhesive pads, which helps them cling to nearly every single surface.A team at Stanford, have created, what can only be described as 'Spiderman' gloves. The gloves are pads which are made from silicon and are covered in many tiles called microwedges. These tiles, harness the same force which holds geckos to ceilings: Van der Waal's forces. Although these forces a relatively weak, when together, they are very strong. Consequently when an 11 stone man wore these pads and proceeded to climb a glass wall he did not fail once out of the hundreds of times he attempted scaling the sheer face.

I'm keeping an eye out, for any other eye-grabbing stories.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Let's Review

I'm 1 month into an industrial placement year at a major pharmaceutical company, and I am so happy that I seized this opportunity! I've already learnt a number of different techniques, and how to use many many machines and how to even present scientific findings. I am loving every single minute of being a real scientist discovering mechanisms and such.  I can imagine doing this as a real job once I graduate!