Thursday, May 29, 2008
This is my first post and I just want to express who I am and what I'm doing on the internet. I'm a young guy studying to be a chemist in an American university. More details about which university will be forthcoming if I'm sure they won't get mad at me for mentioning them. I've come to chemistry after a change of major, because of the passion I feel for the subject. I love all of the sciences but chemistry, to me at least, is the science of everything in a very literal sense. Sure, physics is considered the root of all the natural sciences, but chemistry is truly anthropic, it is the science we use to interact with and change the immediate and everyday world around us.
Everything, we see, taste, touch, smell, and feel is a product of the molecules and ions that surround us. Each and every one of us, even before birth, embarks on that big chemical journey we call life, and whether or not we choose to understand it's complexities, we cannot avoid it.
The late Carl Sagan used to say, "It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it." So astronomers and physicists have at least one quote with which to attract people to their domains. On the other hand, instead of a fear that chemistry will destroy the romance of something, more people are afraid that chemistry will destroy them directly. Everyday we hear people talk about being "chemical-free" and not eating any food that has chemicals, unaware that to be "chemical-free" is not to exist, and to avoid food with any chemicals, is to avoid food altogether.
To the vast and uninformed majority, "chemicals" are evil, smelly, and noxious things that can only be harmful. Never mind the chemical drugs people take to preserve their own lives, or the chlorine which makes water safe to drink. I was on at least on occasion depressed to hear someone whom I like well enough tell me he thought the hole in the ozone layer was caused by our sending people into space! I even tried to explain that ozone was a gas and that any lingering "hole" left by spacecraft would nonetheless be minuscule compared to the actual "hole" everyone talks about. Still this person insisted that he could not be swayed from his suspicion!
There is little one person can to do to put an end to ignorance of any kind. My ambitions are relatively small. I have a lot to learn about chemistry. I want to keep this blog as a way of keeping track of my progress as a chemist and scientist. I hope to post on interesting chemistry and science news, and those events I experience on my chemical journey that inspire me.