Since 500 BC we have been trying to discover what the world is made of at the smallest level that exists. And just like the search for the other Holy Grail, we have discovered other things along the way; rays from radio to gamma, chemical reactivity, compounds, elements, atoms and lots of particles. We keep searching because we know that when we understand the smallest thing we will understand everything – how to cure AIDs, fix the ozone layer, and straighten hair without damage.
I learned this week that protons and neutrons are at the center of everything, providing weight and balance. Even though electrons are much lighter, only 1/1840th of a proton, they are more important because they are in charge (no pun) of how atoms react.
However, a different weight is at my center this week. I miss having a teacher. I miss the back and forth of discussions and the feeling that someone else besides me is invested in my learning. I was inspired by two very different but equally gifted science teachers. They each were demanding, had a weird sense of humor, and liked to blow things up. I never imagined that I would have questions for them decades later. Questions like:
- How does a mass spectrometer really work? and
- What is cytoplasm made of? and
- What will be on the next Chapter Test?
To my ninth grade Mrs. Marcin and my freshman year Professor Binford: a belated thanks for everything.
Next Up: The Neighborhood