Math is Hard - Barbie

Actually I'm having trouble with several other subjects as well. Molecular Biology is nicer than physics because you have all these nice pictures. Unfortunately, each picture is worth a thousand words, so a text with a thousand pictures also seems to have a million more words. If I could remember the names (and properties) of all these silly molecules I would have been a botanist - with apologies to Enrico Fermi.

In physics, you pretty much know that you need to understand all the fundamentals - but experimental details are more optional. In biology, it's not so obvious, at least to me. Do I really need to remember which is the 3' and which the 5' Carbon of the whachamacallit sugar - (do I need to know how to tell a ribose from a deoxyribose, or for that matter, a purine from a pyramidine)? And all those blankety blank amino acids? Wait, wait - I think I remember glycine.

I have decided on a compromise strategy - I will stare at each page of elaborate diagrams until my eyes start to glaze over, and then move on. But hey, I did learn one thing - why unsaturated fatty acids are liquid at lower temps than their saturated cousins - the doubly bonded Carbons put a kink in the otherwise straight chains, making them less able to line up neatly.

The ideal molecular biology student, so I imagine, would have solid organic and bio-chem credentials. That's one place I went wrong. I forget most of the rest.


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