Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sign Me Up for the Geek Cruise

There's a perfectly good explanation as to why I'm on the mailing list of Fermilab National Accelerator's publication, "Symmetry - Dimensions of Particle Physics". No, it's not because I've built a homemade Tevatron accelerator in my basement or that's I've joined in the quest for the elusive Higgs boson particle. It's because I'm a lifelong avowed science geek.

My grades in school were proof positive that I didn't hold any special talent in science. I failed physics outright. Being a visual person, I could not fathom particles or concepts that I couldn't see. Biology was another matter altogether. I loved it and although I still wasn't an "A" student, my enthusiasm made up for a multitude of poor study habits.

Mrs. Carter, my high school biology teacher, was so impressed with my enthusiasm that she created the position of Lab Assistant for me. In my excitement I failed to realize that it simply meant she would have someone to set up the lab experiments and grade papers. It didn't matter. She was happy. I was happy. The only ones that were unhappy were the frogs.

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My love for all things science got me through some tough times. I love my children but raising kids is not mentally stimulating, no matter what you're told. After a couple years of the three P's (pee, poop & puke) even physics began to look attractive.

The Farmer traveled on business a lot when the kids were small and adult companionship was sparse. It was during this period that I made my acquaintance with some lifelong friends; Jacques Cousteau, Jane Goodall and my personal favorite, Carl Sagan. I learned more from the series "Cosmos" than I learned in many of my college classes. And talk about sex symbols. You gotta love a brilliant, humorous man in a corduroy jacket with leather patches on the sleeves. Just the phrase, "Billions and billions," can get me in the mood for romance.

These scientists brought science to the people and proved that learning could also be entertaining. They fed my need for knowledge and my desire for adventure. Many years after those child rearing days I looked into a mirror in my beachside casita on a island with no roads and said to myself, "Thanks for getting me through that rough patch Carl. I'm having my own adventures now. Can you see?" I bet he can. I bet he's happy for me.

I've never given up the lost cause of possibly understanding physics and that's the reason I toured Fermilab and signed up for their mailing list. (Don't tell them, they might drop me if they knew the truth) I read through each issue religiously. Nevertheless, I still don't know a muon from a gluon. I just like hanging out with cosmologists.

The current edition of Symmetry included a surprise. There's a story about something called Geek cruises. You've read about Blues cruises, or cruises where you can hob knob with soap opera stars, but a Geek cruise was news to me.

Six scientists, along with two editors from Scientific American put together a cruise that included 25 lectures covering everything from astrophysics to evolution and archaeology. Sign me up for the Geek Cruise. I want to test my theory that these guys know how to party!

8 comments:

Jen r. said...

Can i go on the geek cruise too? I acutally live about 20 miles from Fermilab(it's very cool there) and 10 from Argonne. It's funny when people see a bit of geekiness come out where they don't expect it. I was reading Scientific American when they talked bout using cold fusion to run cars over ten years ago and I still watch Dr.Who (though David Tennant is hot).. When My geek does emerge once in a while my husband rolls his eyes and asks me if I need a pocket protector, so you rock on sister..!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Billions and billions does it for you, eh? That had me chortling and slapping my desk! What's gotten into you lately? You're the funniest thing going!

lifeinredshoes said...

I used to watch Ol Jacque for his accent! He nurtured my love of the ocean, it still fascinates me. The nice thing about getting older, well there are many, is you can embrace your inner geek.Listening to Carl made all things seem possible,he also had a great voice.

Janet said...

Yeah, I loved Carl too; his voice was hypnotic and of course the elbow patches just put him over the top in my book.

Janet

Jeanne said...

I agree with the very interesting Jacque, Jane and Carl. We were lucky enough to see Jane Goodall in person. She is amazing. However, You are looking for more.(smile) I love your writing ability to tell about yourself with a great sense of humor.
Tell us more!

Take care, Jeanne

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Anonymous said...

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Shamshabad said...

I think you should submit your post to the New Yorker editorial. Some Geek out there may take you up on your request. I've always thought brains were sexy, now if there are billions to go with it....wow! what a combo! As to parties, yes, even Nobel prize winners go out..I once crashed a party just to rub shoulders with one...although the brains did not wear off on me much...I also like to hang out with the PhD bunch...so count me in on the cruise too! BTW I used to live 12 miles from anywhere, now I'm 2 blocks from a major geek university. Never know where meeting a geek may take you. I play Farmville now on facebook! LOL!