Kitchen Science - Physical Chemistry Seminar

Today, I took part in the extra credit Physical Chemistry Seminar by professor Andrew Pelling. When I first saw the title of the presentation, I assumed that I would encounter several concepts that I already knew about. However, I was in for a surprise!

I’m really glad to have the incentive to take part in these workshops. While I knew before that they existed, I never took part in them, but now that i participate in them, I get the chance to learn about so many fascinating things that intelligent and accomplished individuals achieve in their fields.

Sounds: Inside, Outside, Day, and Night

I once saw an NCIS episode in which a blind character could detect one of the detective’s emotional state, just based on a tiny change in his voice. The detective was surprised how she essentially figured out his facial expression and emotions without seeing him, and she replied that blind people could hear better. I was very interested in how blindness could indeed be compensated for in a way by having other senses become more sensitive to stimuli.

Carbon Skeleton of the Class

My entire diagram is connected by hexagons representing graphene, which signifies a carbon skeleton that connects everything from living to non-living beings. I started by thinking of our very first lesson on hexagons and the pencil. First, I thought about how a pencil is called a "lead" pencil even though it's made of carbon, not the lead material, and how this misconception carries out through other languages as well.

Fungal Entanglement in the Cycle of Life

As I was listening to Kaitlin and Saša talk about the mycelium network during the meditation, I was reminded of the giant Banyan Grove tree that connects all beings in the Swamp episode of the Avatar: the Last Airbender cartoon series. As it turns out, there is actually a real life Banyan tree that’s considered sacred in several South-East Asian cultures, housing spirits and gods according to mythologies and folklore tales (Lopez). I reflected on how art imitates life and vice versa, and started my fungi hunting exploration with this thought in mind.


Comforting Findings in Nature

It had been almost 3 years since I last took a walk in the forest, and so when the random location that I pinned turned out to be a forest not too far from my house, I was thrilled to put on my shoes and get out into the fresh air. When I got there, it was very quiet, not even the sound of birds could be heard, and yet it was very peaceful. With the absence of the overwhelming sensory simulation that I had gotten accustomed to from the constant noise of the city life, there was a sudden void, a blank canvas, to take in everything around me. 

The irony about using pencils

As I was drawing/writing with the pencil, it felt a little ironic how I was talking about environmental concerns that come with the production of pencils, and yet I was using one myself to express these thoughts. I also noticed how a pencil is almost always used with an eraser (I certainly erased a few things), and in class, we learned about how erasers themselves also require quite an extensive and toxic process.

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