I used to be a science reporter. Just for fun. Just because I love words and I love to understand something and I love to recoop it in a (funny) way so that others understand it too.
I wrote for this online magazine where authors where paid by the views they generated. I would read the current scientific news over at the BBC, at Nature and at a fun site about automechanics. From their press releases I’d wander into scientific reports and articles and wouldn’t stop until I understood the subject and could explain it to a 5 year old.
How to conceal the world’s top submarine; how eating salt and eggs is good for you; various things involving nano technology; saving water by being smart; how people are prone to sudden death when they get arrested by unarmed police; fun inventions. There were lots of topics that would peak my interest. Typically I would write an article in one afternoon and then spend a few days shaping it.
It was always fun and always working in a buzz (and may not be good for me because of that). But it was really fun :)
Then I got sick. Couldn’t concentrate. Except for two hours every night. Part of the studies I did then involved a book called The Cell: a molecular approach. Apart from the health tips I got from there (“what do labs use to keep the stuff in their petridishes happy? I gotta get my body some of that!)(being salts, aminoacids, difference in electronic potential etc.) I was truly interested in the science of it all.
Where chemistry meets physics. How the cell membrane is build up. How it is transgressed by proteins and molecules. Fascinating stuff!
I got interested in one cell organisms and especially the physical side of things. Movement, motility, protruding thingies, feelers, fins, engulving habits. Amoebas! Earlier this year I tried to find books about this but could not succeed. Most science in this field focuses on chemical habits of these organisms (which are impressive).
Yesterday I suddenly remembered these two things: writing funny explaining something + microbiology.
Now a subject has sprung to my mind, a subject with four angles. That’s four books and lots of talks, if I let my ambition have its say. Which I won’t because I already spend last night awake, for hours and hours, because this enthousiasm gets me too excited. (the yeast waffles and chocolate StNicholas I had yesterday may have had something to do with that too)
Anyway, I believe I have a subject!
I cannot tell it to you just yet, because initial writing has to be done in secret, in private. Just like growing plants from seed must done with care and not too much exposure. So let me play with this for a while and I’ll get back to you.
In the mean time, did you know there’s a whole field where people learn to illustrate the microbiology? It’s very hard to explain a world so different from the one we can see for ourselves. David S Goodsell is at the very top of this field. A field that benefits from microscopes that can see beyond the microbes.