Many of you may have noticed that today’s Google Doodle honors famed physicist and chemist Marie Curie, in celebration of her birthday. But this year also marks the centennial of her second Nobel Prize. (It bears mentioning that Curie was not only the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, she is also the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person ever to win in multiple sciences.)
Wonderful, marvellous – should i consider this for my upcoming PhD DESPITE Kermit the wonder wheelchair, or BECAUSE of Kermit?;)
For the last four years, scientists from around the world have been participating in Science’s Dance Your PhD contest. The rules of the competition are simple: convey your graduate work in the form of interpretive dance. Creativity will win you points, as will scientific merit; but only by combining the two do you stand to win a spot in the annals of Dance Your PhD history.
Sugar. How it has changed us. There is a speech i cherish from the seventh Doctor Who, storyline Remembrance of the Daleks, (the anniversary episode) which goes :
JOHN: Hmm? Your tea. Sugar?
DOCTOR: Ah. A decision. Would it make any difference?
JOHN: It would make your tea sweet.
DOCTOR: Yes, but beyond the confines of my tastebuds, would it make any difference?
JOHN: Not really.
DOCTOR: What if I could control people’s tastebuds? What if I decided that no one would take sugar? That’d make a difference to those who sell the sugar and those that cut the cane.
JOHN: My father, he was a cane cutter.
DOCTOR: Exactly. Now, if no one had used sugar, your father wouldn’t have been a cane cutter.
JOHN: If this sugar thing had never started, my great-grandfather wouldn’t have been kidnapped, chained up, and sold in Kingston in the first place. I’d be a African.
DOCTOR: See? Every great decision creates ripples, like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge, rebound off the banks in unforeseeable ways. The heavier the decision, the larger the waves, the more uncertain the consequences.
JOHN: Life’s like that. Best thing is just to get on with it.
See? Life’s like that, and as it turns out, more than we think.
Three million years ago, a gene mutation switched off a sugar-making enzyme in early hominids. Our ancestors actually became unable to breed with those who still had the enzyme, possibly causing the emergence of our evolutionary grandparent, Homo erectus.
Carl has been a lifelong inspiration. Neil is a worthy successor, who will be doing a much anticipated Cosmos followup soon.