Thursday, September 28, 2006

The coming month...

Things happening in October...

Oct 1 - Appu's Birthday

Oct 2 - Last day of Navrathri

Oct 3, 5 and 6 - Dance practice

Oct 4 - Preparing for Navratri Charity Function

Oct 8 - My VERY FIRST KATHAK performance!


Oct 21 - Diwali

Oct 22 - Flying back to Sydney

Oct 24 - Annual Student Review

Oct 30 - I TURN 23!!!!!!!


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Impressive? Really?

Yesterday my supervisor asked if a few of us from the lab could stay back and entertain a few people. These people were our major funding source and they came to hold a meeting at the hospital and stayed back to look at the sorts of things we do. We had 5 different stations set-up and each of us headed a station.

I had some pretty pictures of cells that had been stained for various proteins to show them and was just telling them about my project. As I was talking about my research I was reminded that what I do is actually important. I am reminded of this fact every now and again. As I was talking to our funding bodies, they looked at me wide-eyed and just kept saying, "That is amazing!".

When you are working with something day-in day-out, it isn't really a big deal to you. However, it is only when you meet people from a totally different field to you that you realise just how little the general public knows about the lab environment. They all thought that the centrifuge was truly amazing. They were totally stunned by the fact that I could pin point the exact location of a protein within a cell or that we were working at the MOLECULAR level.

I remember when I was in high school, I could never understand how people could study things they couldn't see with their naked eye - it was too abstract a thought to comprehend. I can't believe that I am one of them now!

It was nice to me reminded that what I am doing is not a total waste of time - then again, I only need for my current Western to not work to be disappointed again!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Formal Invite to all...

"Enga aathula gollu vechirukoom... elaarum vandhu vethalai paaku vaagindu ponga".

(You are all invited to come and see our dolls over the course of the next 9 days!)...

I hope papier mache and plastic don't make the ancient art of clay-figurine making completely disappear!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Last week was sooo busy! So much has happened that I am still coming to terms with it all!

This is just a short post to let you all know that I am still alive and well. Life is ticking along - at an extremely fast pace! However, I am happy and content with life and that is the important thing. :D

Here is another "Vidya moment" for you all!

The stupidest thing I said (and it made complete sense to me at the time!):
"You mean cows can't milk themselves???". Apparently not... Who would have thought!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Inspirational Science

I was just watching "100 Greatest Discoveries" on the Discovery channel. They were showing the "Top Ten Discoveries of all time" as voted by viewers and so I had to compile my own list!

In their list, they spoke of Pennicillin, Newton's Laws of motion, Einstein's theories of General Relativity and ofcourse Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection - which was number 1.

Apart from the above mentioned discoveries here are some of my own favourite experiments. I have a feeling that I compiled a similar list a few years ago - but I am not too sure. No harm in repeating things that are worth repeating :D

Here is a list of some of my favourite experiments / discoveries...
(I tried to put these in some sort of order but I was unable to choose one over the other! So the following are in no particular order.)

1) Millikan's Oil drop experiment - determining the charge of an electron. Such a simple experiment and yet sooo powerful!
2) Milgram's Experiment - Ever since I heard of this experiment I have had to re-think about who we REALLY are. The baffling nature of the human mind - it forces me to think about just how much I am like everyone else and whether I can be manipulated by authority to the same degree as the subjects of this particular experiment.
3) Louis Pasteur disproving the Theory of Spontaneous Generation. When I first read about it, I hadn't even thought that a theory called "Spontaneous Generation" had existed. As a kid I had thought that that must have been how things came into the world - when it rains earthworms are EVERYWHERE - why? My way of answering it was "Spontaneous Generation" - but in simpler terms. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for someone to prove something that seems to make so much sense - until it is disproved and you think "How silly!"
4) Crick's Wobble Hypothesis - the redundancy built into the human genome continues to fascinate me!
5) Frisch's "Bee" exeriment. The "Waggle Dance". A discovery that I believe is able to make even the most head-strong individual humble and accept that nature is far more complex than we can imagine.
6) Pauling and Sickle Cell Anaemia. One small amino acid change is the difference between life and death. It is a miracle that there are so many "normal" individuals in the world!
7) Meselsohn-Stahl Experiment. One of my lecturers at uni called it "The most beautiful Experiment Ever". I think it shows the true power of collaborations from two very different fields - Radiation Physics and Molecular Biology.
8) John Cairns - the evolving nature of mutations. Simple Experiments are often the most Powerful.
9) Griffith's transformation experiment - showing that DNA are the carriers of hereditary information - who would have thought??
10) Rosalind Franklin's contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA. This list couldn't possibly be complete without mentioning her.

I want to end this with a few of my favourite quotes...

"I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars" - Sir Charles Darwin

"One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike and yet it is the most precious thing we have." - Albert Einstein

"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living." - Jules Henri Poincaré

One of my favourites - this has been said by many people in many different ways, but I often feel that this is basis of Science.

"Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one." - Konrad (Zacharias) Lorenz

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Pointless Post

My last few posts have been quite pointless really - no real content. Reminds me of the sort of letters I used to write when I was 9 or 10. All quantity... no quality.

This post too is unfortunately going to be pointless too. I can't think of anything "important" to write! A "Blogger's Block"??

I guess this was a pretty big week for Australians with the death of two famous Australians - Steve Irwin and Peter Brock. Still a bit shocked about the whole thing. I don't think I would have been as shocked about Peter Brock's death though had it not been Steve Irwin's earlier this week.

When I went into work on Monday there was a an email waiting for me with the title "Interesting Article". The title should have read, "You are sooo stuffed!". The title of the article was the EXACT same thing as the title of my thesis. Hmmm... Oh well... I guess that is Science...Only consolation is that it came out now rahter than next year when I would have finished all my experiments!

My grandpa should be here tomorrow. Can't wait to see him! I told him I would come to pick him up from the airport in my brand new car:D

I seem to have the flu :( I am contemplating whether I should go into work today and finish some stuff or let it wait till Monday...

Life becomes complicated unnecessarily doesn't it??

OOHH! The only other thing MAJOR that has been happening this week is that my dad sent me the complete Mahabharath - the one that used to be on Doordharshan. So I have been watching that. I am up to the bit where the the Pandava princes have been brought back to Hastinapur and are learning from Dronacharya. I am half way through my second DVD - only 6 and a half to go! I should count the number of times the say "Parranthu" , "Hariputra" and "Yeh tho unnyaay hei!" in each episode!