Musings from day 1

What a day!  Smooth traveling from Baltimore to Philly by train in time for the first talk of the morning in a packed house at the Molecular Biophysics subgroup. The talks that I got a chance to see were of premium quality and I’m excited for multiple days of more.  

What a trip indeed.  Watching the scenery as we cruised along perpendicular to the sunrise this morning made me think of the various reasons why I like being in science. First of all, I get to do really neat things all the time. Experiments, pondering how nature works, reading new and exciting work, learning more all the time, meeting the smartest people on the planet, these are the first things that come to mind when people ask me why I like science.  

However, I feel a deeper pull into this realm of the unknown. I am reminded of a poster in my apartment of Steve Prefontaine that reads, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” I love that. While he applied it to his awesome running abilities it reminds me of the amazing opportunities that I have on a daily basis. Combined with the outside support required, such as undergraduate research funding, scholarships, and mentoring, to get me to where I am today I also recall that my current education is also subsidized and to give anything less than my best would be sacrificing that gift. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am today without all of that help and with that realization comes a sense of responsibility to give back.

This responsibility is another reason why I am excited to hear about more than science at the meeting. In light of the many challenges we will face in the near future. With things like climate change, hydraulic franking, and gun control at the forefront of the public eye I often wonder what scientists could contribute to the discussion of such topics. Thoughts like these remind me of Linus Pauling.  His Nobel Peace Prize is just as, if not more, impressive to me than his scientific work. It is no surprise that I am excited to go to the Communicating Science session tomorrow from 2:30 – 4:00.

While I am undoubtedly excited to see more talks on more exciting science
I am equally excited to gain insight into what people are doing to get the word out about science, controversial or not, and what I might be able to contribute.  Thank you Biophysical Society for an excellent day one and after a solid 14 hours of science, meeting up with old friends, and eating excellent food its time to rest up for another one!

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