Monday, February 2, 2009

The Sentimental Scientist

The geniuses that designed our building optimized teaching and office space but literally designed the building without any storage space. While we have become quite adept at finding and using microstorage "hide in plain sight" spaces it just seems that the labs especially are an avalanche waiting to happen.

So, I have been on one of my periodic purges (no irony intended). And at the bottom and back of a desk drawer we use as a spectrometer table for the teaching IR I found this collection of objects:

What we have here is the high school chemistry text that I used in grade 11 and 12. The safety glasses that I wore through graduate school and the last CNDO/2 program that I ran with punched cards (it was an optimization of the torsion angle in the dithionite dianion).

Sentimental fool that I am I have kept these incidental objects, the flotsam and jetsam of a life in science, for decades for no other reason than the tactile joy and nostalgia they bring to me. They went back into the drawer but really, am I alone in doing this? Should I just grow up and move on? Does anyone else have an irrational scientific memory drawer? What is in it?

Have a good week people, play safe.

4 comments:

Chemgeek said...

Keep the punch cards at least. Those are a glorious connection to a long gone world.

Ψ*Ψ said...

How do those work? As someone from the GaussView generation, I can't quite wrap my head around them.

Chemjobber said...

No, you're not the only one. I have a piece of chalk from my first class as a TA and I also have my 12th grade AP chemistry text.

Walt said...

I r a math teechur... I recently went to ebay and bought a K&E wooden/laminate slide rule like I had in HS and also a TI SR-11 calculator (that even did square root!!!) like I had in my final year in HS ('76). But I do have most of my texts and notes from college ('78-'85).

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For a while it was all about research and then it was all about teaching and now it's all about trying to find a balance while teaching at a small liberal arts and science university.