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Thursday, January 22, 2009

For the love of science books!

 When I saw Barbara Oakley's book Evil Genes in the store, and read it, I knew that I wanted to tell people about it, being the way most of us are when we are excited about something. With the internet and all, I can tell LOTS of people.  There are so many AMAZING science books out there!  Now I am extremely motivated to tell you all more and more!  Btw, to give Dr. Oakley her fair share of time, I will put her initial response to my posting of a review of her truly unique book. 

 Dear Joanne,

You're a natural!  Wow--can you just pretend to be me and go do my
book talks for me--you do a better job of it! :)  Thank you so very
much--what a fun, relaxed, and interesting talk!  You described what I
really wanted people to get out of the book.  I'm hoping you'll do
more video book reviews like this--it's a fun way to learn about
books, and you are able to synthesize the book's content in a very
interesting way.  Kudos to you!

Warmly,
Barb

And also:

I think one of the things I liked best about your video book review is that
you just enjoyed what you'd read, and you wanted to share your pleasure.
  What was especially nice, though, was that you could *see* how much you enjoyed the book!  It was nice that it was my book, for sure, but I would have enjoyed such an upbeat
review with any book.

Oh, and something us nerds can appreciate:

"As far as I’m concerned, you are the book reviewer who strides unscathed on liquid oxygen."

That is just so kind of her! And believe me, I love the nerdy comment!  Unfortunately, her review was done over the sound of the blower of the biosafety cabinet (sorry, Barbara!).  The best compliment is that I was able to capture what she really wanted to tell her readers. I can only give it a try and I'm glad I succeeded!  I feel my overall goal is to share about science books I have enjoyed (rather than critique them) in the hopes to excite a few more people about reading science, and maybe help them explore beyond their own fields of science.

I'll need to remember to link my students' book recommendations that I collect at the end of each spring semester.  You'll find it interesting, as I don't limit them to just science books!  Over the years I had to tell them not to list Harry Potter or books by Dan Brown....to make them reach a little further.

Until next time,

Kindly,  Joanne

Thu, January 22, 2009 | link 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'll never wash my computer again!

Thanks to the note I got from my favorite author! I am so excited!  I posted my video review about Mary Roach's books and subsequently let her know I did that and look at the note she sent back! (printed with her permission)

 Oh my god, you absolute doll!!  Thank you!!!!    David Sedaris is my favorite author; you have no idea how great it feels to be called the David Sedaris of science.  Thank you for everything you said about my books.  You're very good on camera, very at ease -- I always look all geeked out and can't string together a sentence.   Are you going to the bioengineering meeting at OSU in May?  I may be doing a panel there...    If so, see you there!

Your fan,
Mary

I didn't know her favorite author was David Sedaris!  That is so cool. It doesn't surprise me because they both have that wry humor that knocks you off your feet!! Plus, it's science...I couldn't be happier.  I do hope I can manage to meet with her someday.  I am such a big fan! Thanks for making my day, Mary!

I doubt her comments about looking geeked out and not stringing together a sentence are true.  But, just to be sure, now I will look for some video posting of her in public. ;-)

Until next time,

Kindly, Joanne

Wed, January 21, 2009 | link 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Time to see a movie....

OK, for all of you new students, the votes for your book picks are still coming in.  I'll give you a full tally after I hear from more of you, but now I think I need to go see The Prestige.  This movie was cited as the reason some of you would read AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War.  This was one movie I missed, which is hard to do since I watch A LOT of movies!  I also would not miss one about scientists if I knew they were in it.  I saw that David Bowie plays Tesla!  How fun. Tesla was quite an interesting character, keen on the ladies and into all sorts of mysticism.

A recent "scientist" movie I watched was Nobel Son, which was fairly decent (I didn't link to the trailer since the ones I found weren't exactly rated G).  Alan Rickman plays a quite unlikeable chemist who wins a Nobel prize.  The son gets kidnapped and...aw, go see the movie to find out what happens.  A few gruesome scenes give way to ironically amusing comeuppance for Rickman's character.  I enjoyed it despite watching it at 9:30pm, the only showing given for this movie...meaning they weren't expecting much of an audience, which would be an accurate prediction as I was the ONLY one in the theater for that show that night. Maybe they should have paid me to go.

Until next time,

Kindly, Joanne

Tue, January 20, 2009 | link 

Mary Roach is the _______ of Science

Thought I'd let you know I posted another video to my youtube site, this time about Mary Roach and her books.  I've written about her before.  She is my favorite! Visit her site, too.

Until next time,

Kindly, Joanne

Tue, January 20, 2009 | link 

Monday, January 19, 2009

An exacting day!

How often does this happen?  By this I mean the general concept, not the exact details.

I have 10 mls of 10x TRED (trypsin EDTA) and I need to dilute it to 1X.  Easy, add it to 90mls (cold, sterile) water, right?  Now aliquot in 2ml aliquots.  How many tubes? Again, easy. 50.

For my tubes, I grab handfuls and throw them in beakers or bottles and autoclave them.  No counting, heaven knows.  I put the beaker in the biosafety cabinet and set them up in the tube rack.  How many in there?  EXACTLY 50. Fairly amazing in my book.

So then I freeze some cells.  I take 10mls of my resuspended cells and get them ready.  I take a small aliquot to count the cells and calculate cells per ml. I do it slightly differently than I teach you students.  I dilute 200 microliters of cells in 1800 microliters of media (no trypan blue--I trust my viability to be 100%), a 1 to 10 dilution.  Then I have less math rather than dividing by the 10 squares we count on the hemacytometer.  Basically, whatever I count is multiplied by 104, telling me the number of cells per milliliter I have in my sample. Today, I count EXACTLY 100 cells! Multiply that by 104 and you have 1 x 106 cells per milliliter.  Coincidentally, you need to freeze these cells at a concentration of 1 x 106 cells per milliliter.  EXACTLY! How easy can you get?  Remember I have 10 mls of resuspension, so I can make 10 vials of frozen cells.  I grab the nearest bag of cryovials.  Oh yeah! EXACTLY 10 vials!!

So crazy.  I don't recall this happening in all my years of cell culture or any science for that matter!

If you haven't, check out my video previewing all the science books I got at the bookstore. Thanks to those who told me they appreciate the booklist. 

My aunt sent me a note saying "I just watched your video.  I don't think I've ever seen someone so excited over science books.  How cute!   How do you make these videos?" I sort of can't help it.  You can ask mom!

Until next time,

Kindly, Joanne

Mon, January 19, 2009 | link 


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