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  1. #11
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    Do you love science?

    I like science. It's really interesting at times.

    Favorite areas of science?

    Chemistry (which is just a branch of physics really.. so quantum mechanics and similar areas the most)

    What does it mean to you?

    Understanding the world at a level where we can really live better, healthier, and more efficient lives.

    Are you a scientist or a scientist in training?

    For now, no.

    I'm torn whether if I should just continue with chemistry/biochemistry and take organic chemistry seriously (I enjoy chemistry I really do, just not the best practical person with it)

    Music (Because it's what I spend all my time on at least listening, even just solely listening to)

    or Psychology.. which some consider it to be a science, others' don't. I find human relationships really satisfying when it goes well.. (redundant I know) to be a counselor psychologist sounds really cool.

    My personality would suggest psychology the most prototypically.

    Favorite science theories, princples, etc?

    Higgs Boson - "God" Particle

    In biochemistry, the way how water reacts with everything is incredibly interesting.
    Condensation/dehydration reactions.

    I loved chemistry because to me I found it to be the most artistic (in principle at least and maybe even physically) how things can transform.

  2. #12
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    Not going to participate in the discussion regarding definitions of "scientist" because that rabbit hole runs deep into epistemology, role of the endeavour in society, and where to draw arbitrary lines. It's been done to death in my social media circles and is extremely unproductive. I'll just answer the questions.

    Do you love science?
    Yes.

    Favourite areas of science?
    Hard question to answer (pardon the pun). Hmmm. I'll take the question to mean "what's your specific areas of interest?"

    I'll just write something general and if people are actually interested, answer further questions. Right now, primarily the interaction of physiological systems with environments, and the role of biological networks/decision-making in how these systems shift. At the heart of it are questions like "why do people do what they do?" and "how does biology shape behaviour/environment and vice versa?". I find it endlessly fascinating because these systems are so dynamic.

    What does it mean to you?
    To me, science is a tool to analyse and systematise complex reality.

    Are you a scientist or a scientist in training?
    Yes.

    Favourite science theories, principles, etc?
    My first passion was chemistry. I was introduced to atomic orbital theory through the VSEPR model when I was 14. Linus Pauling was an early hero. I majored in chemistry in university and went on to learn about the Bohr atom and quantum chemistry. Eventually I moved to life science through structural biology, but that still remains incredibly beautiful and elegant to me. I still love the shape of molecules and relation of structure to properties and function.
    "How badly did you have to break it to make it care about people so much?"
    "That didn't break it. It's what made it work."

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  3. #13
    Guardian of Ga'Hoole Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    I don't know where to put this, but I just came back from a lecture on microbiomes, and on the way back, it occurred to me how cool it would be if someone made a Planet Earth-style documentary about microorganism. If such a thing already exists, please tell me about it!
    A path is made by walking on it.

    -Zhuangzi



  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julius_Van_Der_Beak View Post
    I don't know where to put this, but I just came back from a lecture on microbiomes, and on the way back, it occurred to me how cool it would be if someone made a Planet Earth-style documentary about microorganism. If such a thing already exists, please tell me about it!
    I doubt they would because it would mostly be animation. That field is moving so fast and evolving from month to month - not my specialty, but it's interesting and I can barely keep up with reading. If you'd like a good intro, Ed Yong has written a fantastic book called "I contain multitudes" that gives a general picture of the state of research (though it's a 2016 book so it's already a bit out of date), and extends the picture of us as a microbiome ecology to different natural contexts. Highly recommend it, it's well-written and accessible.
    "How badly did you have to break it to make it care about people so much?"
    "That didn't break it. It's what made it work."

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  5. #15
    Senior Member Smilephantomhive's Avatar
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    In my bio class my professor said that the mitochondria may have been from bacteria entering some cell, and then it being beneficial, so it eventually became the norm. I find the idea of some viruses/bacteria having positive effects very intriguing.


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  6. #16
    / nonsequitur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smilephantomhive View Post
    In my bio class my professor said that the mitochondria may have been from bacteria entering some cell, and then it being beneficial, so it eventually became the norm. I find the idea of some viruses/bacteria having positive effects very intriguing.
    Yes, mitochondria (and chloroplasts) are the result of eukaryotic endocytotic events that took place billions of years ago. That's why they're both double-membrane bound organelles.

    "Positive" and "negative" are based on human valuations. In nature, whether a change persists or dies out (natural selection) depends on whether it adds value - either to the organism (increased fitness), or to an ecosystem. There are many, many examples of organisms that cannot survive on their own, and have established co-dependent relationships with others (this is known as mutualism).

    If we're talking in a gut microbiome context, the ecological relationships between these bacteria, bacteriophages, the intestine lining and the immune system determine if a person gets sick or is healthy. It's not as simple as "a bacterial invasion causes infection", which is the simplistic medical model that is used. For e.g. with a Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection, it's not so much the presence of the bacteria (it's present in many individuals but doesn't cause illness there) but its overgrowth that causes illness and death. Other bacteria keeps it in check, competing with it for resources, and so do bacteriophages. It's a very dynamic system. The "good" and "bad" paradigm with regards to bugs needs to die, it's all context dependent. That's also part of the reason why inappropriate usage of antibiotics for an infection can make things worse - it's essentially carpet-bombing your allies that are helping to keep it in check.

    Edit: Coincidentally enough, Wired just published an article today (originally from Quanta) about using mathematical modelling to map an ecological community of microbial interactions! How Math Can Help Unravel the Weird Interactions of Microbes | WIRED

    Biology is complicated:
    In fact, according to his study’s findings, the number of required samples scales linearly with the number of microbial species in the system. (By comparison, with some popular modeling-based approaches, the number of samples needed increases with the square of the number of species in the system.) “I consider this really encouraging for when we talk about the network reconstruction of very large, complex ecosystems,” Liu said. “If we collect enough samples, we can map the ecological network of something like the human gut microbiota.”

    Those samples allow scientists to constrain the combination of signs (positive, negative, zero) that broadly define the interactions between any two microbial strains in the network. Without such constraints, the possible combinations are astronomical: “If you have 170 species, there are more possibilities than there are atoms in the visible universe,” said Stefano Allesina, an ecologist at the University of Chicago. “The typical human microbiome has more than 10,000 species.” Liu’s work represents “an algorithm that, instead of exhaustively searching among all possibilities, pre-computes the most informative ones and proceeds in a much quicker way,” Allesina said.
    As for why we should care (they make the same point that I did):
    Such a collaboration could have practical applications, too. Xavier and his colleagues have found that the microbiome diversity of cancer patients is a huge predictor of their survival after a bone marrow transplant. The medical treatments that precede transplant—acute chemotherapy, prophylactic antibiotics, irradiation—can leave patients with microbiomes in which one microbe overwhelmingly dominates the composition. Such low diversity is often a predictor of low patient survival: According to Xavier, his colleagues at Sloan Kettering have found that the lowest microbial diversity can leave patients with five times the mortality rate seen in patients with high diversity.

    Xavier wants to understand the ecological basis for that loss of microbial diversity, in the hopes of designing preventive measures to maintain the needed variability or interventions to reconstitute it. But to do that, he also needs the information Liu’s method provides about microbial interactions. For example, if a patient takes a narrow-spectrum antibiotic, might that affect a broader spectrum of microbes because of ecological dependencies among them? Knowing how an antibiotic’s effects could propagate throughout a microbial network could help physicians determine whether the drug could cause a huge loss to a patient’s microbiome diversity.
    There's a section in the article about interaction between dynamic biological systems and environment + vice versa.
    "How badly did you have to break it to make it care about people so much?"
    "That didn't break it. It's what made it work."

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  7. #17
    Fabula rasa Kas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    That is possible, depending on how one defines things. Based on what you have said about your work, most of the folks there would fall in the category we call "technician". A couple of the people in charge might fall under "scientist" or even "(chemical) engineer".

    In any case, if you like 80's science shows, have you seen the original Cosmos with Carl Sagan? I really enjoyed those growing up.
    It was really good!
    “The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." A.C. Doyle


  8. #18
    Fabula rasa Kas's Avatar
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    Do you love science?
    Yes, I do.

    Favorite areas of science?
    Currently astronomy, medicine, philosophy, math.

    What does it mean to you?
    It represents human curiosity, asking questions about their existence and conditions around them; longing to understand. Sounds like worth effort trying to find any answers. Noticing more practical side, science is simply making our life easier every day.

    Are you a scientist or a scientist in training?
    No. I would like to though.

    Favorite science theories, princples, etc?
    I would love to read more about Whitehead theories esp "Process and Reality".


    Btw it must have been long time since I've seen started by you thread, because "discuss" in the end made me smile widely
    “The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." A.C. Doyle

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  9. #19
    Quetzalcoatl Norexan's Avatar
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    Do you love science?
    Yes.

    Favorite areas of science?
    Chemistry, Physics and Biology

    What does it mean to you?
    Science is the best way to observe the world.

    Are you a scientist or a scientist in training?
    No. I studied Medical Biochemistry for a while,now I am on Computer Science (finished soon). But soon I will go into Physical Chemistry which I planned a long ago by the way.

    Favorite science theories, principles, etc?
    I like to study what is move behind the scenes of eyes. I like to learn how real nature operates.
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  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Julius_Van_Der_Beak View Post
    I don't know where to put this, but I just came back from a lecture on microbiomes, and on the way back, it occurred to me how cool it would be if someone made a Planet Earth-style documentary about microorganism. If such a thing already exists, please tell me about it!
    Oh man this WOULD be really cool! The problem is the shots would not be as asthetically pleasing as most nature documentaries are, but if it could be animated it might neat, but the amount of work involved in that to make it scientifically accurate would be staggering!

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