August 15, 2007

Back to school

This week is molecular biology week… and i’m in ngee ann poly for lectures and labs. This time i’m learning about DNA and genes and mutation, instead of the usual programming stuff. 1st day was fine, but subsequently it has become damn hard for me to absorb those stuff. I simply cannot remember what makes amino acids and what makes lipids yet. Luckily we had some prep work few months back when we had nothing much to do, otherwise I think i’d be dead the first day. Never having taken bio before certainly adds to the challenge. I’m glad the chemistry portion still helped.

That brings me to the point that I’ve always thought chemistry and biology were two distinct fields of science, with chemistry building blocks as elements, atoms and molecules while biology had cells as basic blocks. Only now then I realize that cells were made up of chemistry elements too! Cells actually have a whole lot of carbon in it besides oxygen and hydrogen too… What a late discovery… so now I can actually appreciate bio-chemistry, bio-technology and integrate my knowledge of chemistry with (molecular) biology!

The more exciting part of the course are actually the labs, where we do not dissect frogs. We actually play with a lot of things we can’t see such as DNA, bacteria and some very smelly stuff. don’t really know what the stuff are, we just follow lab sheets and add this to that, use microfuges to spin the little tubes around, pseudo-massage machines that help to mix the tube contents, heating blocks and many funny devices that i’ve never used before. Since the stuff is so small we’re usually working with micro-litres so we don’t use glass test tubes but plastic mini tubes and micro-pipettes to pick REALLY TINY amounts of stuff up.

From the given lab sheets I think I’ll be picking up stuff from my own body soon to do experiments with, and that could be more exciting or scary, depending on how you see it. It’s always more exciting to know more about your own self, but the lecturer have told us stories about students who did experiments and realize things like he/she wasn’t a product of his/her own parents…