Up until my junior year of high school, I had hated science. I tuned out at the mention of chlorophyll and photosynthesis. I loathed the smell of the labs, particularly during dissection lessons. Physics especially bored me. Gravity, mass, energy, whatever.
In 11th grade, I was in my second year at an alternative school. The fall semester, I took classes in “The Ascent of Man” and basic chemistry. “The Ascent of Man” was a chronological look at scientific discoveries throughout history, based on the sweeping BBC television series by the late mathematician Jacob Bronowski. My favorite section was on the alchemists. It dovetailed perfectly with the chemistry class I was taking.
But it wasn’t until I began reading science fiction and watching PBS documentaries about science—maybe my late 20s—that I wanted to know everything about quantum physics, DNA, the atom bomb, fractals, soil composition.
I am now an amateur geek. I understand only the edges of things. It is enough, though, to sometimes make me feel like a super genius when I make a link in my head that turns out to be somewhat true.
Earlier this evening, for example, I was thinking that there must be a relationship between dark matter and black holes. After Googling this possibility, I learned that a recent study at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics produced results “that the invisible hand of dark matter somehow influences black hole growth.” OK, my conclusion wasn’t quite the same as the study’s findings. My theory, based only on my imagination, is that dark matter are the outer rings of dark holes.
Another theory I made up in my head: our DNA is etched with traumatic events experienced by our ancestors and that leads some people to believe they’ve experienced past lives. Earlier this year, researchers at Mount Sinai in New York released a study of Holocaust survivors and their children that has become, according to The Guardian, “the clearest example in humans of the transmission of trauma to a child via what is called ‘epigenetic inheritance’ – the idea that environmental influences such as smoking, diet and stress can affect the genes of your children and possibly even grandchildren.”
The study didn’t exactly provide evidence of past lives swimming in our DNA, but it’s something. I’m not completely off my rocker.
I also believe that fractals are some kind of natural mass production of design for efficiency’s sake. I’m probably wrong. I fucking love science.