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Posted by Lilly from ? ( on Friday, June 14, 2002 at 8:51AM :

: I smell like organic stuff =)

xxx Better'n perfume! Just kidding. Once I spilled some organic stuff (we were synthesizing esters) all over my gen chem lab notebook, & I had to turn it in to the prof in a tightly sealed plastic bag (he demanded to see the original write-up from lab)... I'm sure it made his day. To this day, I still have not found the words to describe the sheer heinousness of that smell.

: I enjoyed Pchem as well. Pchem II was tough though. The Aktins book is crap.

xxx I can't believe you said that! Take that back! Just kidding. I liked the Atkins book as a supplement to this book by Woodbury, our official class text. Lots of kids hated the Woodbury & loved the Atkins - but I didn't really have a preference.

:You're very right about gen. chem. courses. Its REALLY tough to teach it right and not confuse students. I TAed intro chem this, it was a lot of work. Its tough getting students to understand concepts when you struggle to explain the basics. I think too much material is covered in intro classes. My prof at K said he cuts back more and more every year. Its better to teach the key concepts more in-depth than to teach tons of topics covering each one in about 10 minutes of lecture if that. Its tough and this is exactly the reason why I'm happy to have gone to a small school. The profs were ALWAYS willing to help out and answer questions during and outside of class. It was great.

xxx I think it'd be interesting to TA an intro bio course. I haven't yet - it's actually not a requirement for my department. But they recommend it for students interested in teaching - which I am.

: In my graduation class (2001), there were 15 chem majors which is very high for school with ~1200 or so students. Most of them were female which is so cool.

xxx Sounds like my school! I went to Sewanee, a.k.a. the University of the South, a liberal arts college. The student population was about the same size as your undergrad, which was smaller than the population of students at my high school... Gossip ran rampant all over the place, & still does. I think we had about 10 chem majors in my class. It was hard to recruit majors for that department since the profs had a reputation for giving out brutally low grades. I think we had half girls, half guys.

: Most of my friends in the department are working or switched fields. We have one great organic prof that came and taught my year and is now tenured. He was probably the driving force to get bio majors to turn chem, which is a rare day considering typical bio majors struggle with chemistry..especially pchem. This is what kills me about bio/pre-med majors--"I hate chemistry"--ummm you better learn to like chemistry if you want to be my doctor =)

xxx I think it's a conflict between ways of thinking, again. Biology requires a lot mroe memorization, at least in undergrad courses. P chem is a bit more mathematical - you derive equations; they aren't handed to you. You want a doctor with good, fast recall.

: Like you, I think i would enjoy cell biology more than anything. I don't really like much of the ecology/nature type of stuff. To tell you the truth, I'm not much of an outdoors kinda of person. its pretty much due to the way I was brought up. No pets, no camping trips, etc. I like to be outside though, Ilike going to the beach etc. I did play soccer for about 7 years..I tore my ACL so I no longer play. I'm still bitter about that =) I might go hiking this weekend with a friend, and I'm going to start riding the bike I bought to get around campus. There are some beautiful places here that I just have to go I think California is helping me out in that sense. ...

xxx Sorry about the torn ACL! I'm going to hit the trails a bit this weekend, too.

: If you are t all interested in what I do, I am starting to work on titanium catalysts for styrene/ethylene copolymermization. Might get into some lanthanides too. Its tough chemistry, very air and water sensitive. I sometimes have issues with the fact that we are improving catalytic methods to make nonrecyclable polymers but I get over it when I see the benefits of plastics and new materials. What I would like to see is new industrial processes that minimize pollution and waste production.

xxx Did you read the April, 2002 issue of Scientific American? There's a 2 page article "It's Not Easy Being Green" about marketing polyaspartate - a biodegradable replacement for polyacrylics derived from oyster shells - to US industries. It's a really good article... Apparently, if you replace the hydrocarbon compounds that make up the backbone of polymers with peptides, bacteria can degrade them, & the material is quite strong. European companies are using these biodegradable compounds. But I know nothing about titanium catalysts. Do you feel like explaining it to me? I'd like to know more.

xxx Basically, I do a lot of microarray & real time PCR experiments right now... the idea is to be able to fish something exciting out of these experiments. I hormone treat cell cultures & compare gene expression profiles of the hormone treated cells with the gene expression profiles of the same cell cultures not exposed to hormones. Working w/ multiple results from microarrays can be a bit challenging for me.

: Do you want to teach when you are done with grad school? I don't know what I want to do yet. I'm kinda just doing whatever comes. I'm considering a long-term career in business or law but who knows..

xxx Yeah, I'd love to teach & do research.

: Did you consider med school?

xxx Yeah, until I realized that being forced to listen to hypochondriacs bitch & complain all day is not my cup of tea. Plus, there's something I find incredibly romantic about being a lab recluse. & I love being able to explain things I know about to other people, & arguing with people about the uselessness of their lab work. One thing that I want to do is go back & relearn the material from my intro physics using Feynman's lecture series for text. & also take a diff eq class, some compu sci classes, a wilderness first aid training course, & learn how to fix cars in a general sort of way.

: Oh, I do go to church here..that is when I wake up in time on Sundays and actually feel like going to San Jose. The Assyrian Church of the East is there. I've met some people there but as a whole, the "youth" tends to be younger, under 20. Maybe you are right about college kids not going to church..I'm sure they don't go as often..more like the Easter/Christmas kinda thing. Ah well, I find friends as they come I suppose. I don't feel lonely. Plus, I'm not going to force myself to be friends with people simply cause they are middle eastern or Assyrian or whatever. I'm sure you know what I mean. My best friend at home is a Republican, generally conservative white girl, and I wouldn't trade her for the world. We differ on some issues..but she's truly a good friend..

xxx That's so funny! My best friend since 3rd grade was raised Republican, too. She's really liberal, though, except when it comes to religion. I think she's more liberal than the other Republicans I know just because she's part Cherokee (she's actually a member of the Cherokee Nation), & so she really gives a damn about the underprivileged in this country. I adore her, despite her tendencies to take the Bible a bit more literally than I can stand sometimes. & the other thing is that it's hard to explain to her things about the Palestinians... her grandfathers fought in WWII, so she feels a lot of pride about US foreign policy. I try to avoid the topic w/ her, but I *wish* I could talk w/ her about it. But then again, she's always trying to talk to me about houw I ought to interpret the Bible, so maybe we'll make a trade - she can say whatever she wants about the Bible to me & I'll listen if she lets me tell her my perspective on the goings on in the Middle East & how the US government is so corrupt.

: I could write forever so I'll stop for now..

: Nahrain

xxx I like getting to know you - have you considered maybe coming to Iraq w/ us next summer?

-- Lilly
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