Recently I've been embracing my inner science geek. Finally there was just no denying the fact that I love PBS and the Discovery Channel. Shows about DNA testing and carbon dating and quantum physics. These are a few of my favorite things. Nova and Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda - woo hoo! Even the books I've been delving into of late are sciencey - genetics, cosmology, the nature of time - all topics I've enjoyed, if not entirely understood.
On a recent day off, I found myself in a bookstore geared towards the students of a particular prestigious, science-oriented, world-renowned university. I wandered up and down the rows of books not finding what I was looking for. Finally in a special section entitled "reference" that actually took up half the store, I saw the sign that said "science". I actually thought to myself "yay, science!" and smiled right there and then for all to see as I made my way over to the science books.
What's interesting about all of this is that I definately wasn't aware of my scientific leanings before. I've always been interested in these things, I just never made the connection. I can remember the last time I proclaimed an interest in science. I was in the fifth grade and I signed up for an after school science program. The first day I walked in and realized I was the only girl there. After all, there definately was an undercurrent about science and math being for boys more than girls. I hadn't acknowledged it, but at that moment I remember thinking that maybe I wasn't supposed to like science because I was a girl. Maybe science was boy-stuff. And remember, in fifth grade, boys were yucky. Some of them still are. And speaking of yucky, one of the things we did in that program was dissect worms. I think I felt even more out of place, repulsed by the smell of formaldehyde and the waxy worm skin, among boys who were excitedly throwing worms at each other and eagerly cutting them up.
And now one of my roommates is an actual scientist. Science is her job and she is the smartest person I know. Keeping in mind that she is from Europe, she was honestly surprised when I told her of my revelation that science was for boys. She had never heard such outrage. She just wasn't taught that way. Now she has inspired me to accept my inner scientist. And I realize that science is for everyone! But I still don't want to cut up worms. In fact, I feel kind of sorry for the worms.
Oh and speaking of dissection, I will never forget the way my seventh grade science teacher looked at the frog I was dissecting and said, "wow, what a remarkably large liver!" as he reached into my little aluminum tray, pulled the organ in question right out of the frog it was still attached to with nothing but his bare hands, and held it up to his face for examination. Really, is it any wonder I was a little put off by science?