Friday, February 17, 2006
Order, Chaos and the DNA Molecule
OK, now you get a little taste of my science background. Behold the DNA molecule, a double helix as I'm sure you know. I first saw this image, in Sr. Janella's sophmore biology class at Columbus High. When we walked into the lab the first day of class, she had a model hanging from her goose-necked water spigot. It turns out that Sr. Janella, easily 60, quite overweight, and hard of hearing, had gone to a conference in Denver, Colorado, during the summer. The DNA molecule and the magic wrought by Drs. Frick and Watson was all the rage in 1961. Their notion that there was a blueprint for cell reproduction unique to each individual that essentially wrapped around and around, carrying the cell's information in a double spiral pattern that was really never ending. As a result of the conference, she announced that we had new texts that were so hot-off-the-press that they were just a soft-covered binder with many pages of diagrams that meant nothing to us. So, instead of dissecting frogs and talking about S-E-X, we were talking about biochemistry and genetics. Totally unfair.
But the double helix stuck with me through the years. When my life gets complicated and I can't figure out how to extricate myself from the chaos, I am ( I know, it's weird ) comforted by imagining the very complicated blueprint of my specificity, my uniqueness --just like the image above.