Last December I made a commitment to write one blog post a month about chemistry for the year of 2017. It was a way facilitate life long learning while also diving deeper into a subject I just never got around to. Looking back on those posts now shares not only my exploration of chemistry, but the journey of 2017 in general.
My start of 2017 was pretty stable. In my last months in Bellingham, WA I had time and energy to ponder the big questions. While I didn't quite know what my next step was going to be, I explored topics like metallic hydrogen and using chemistry to make the best popcorn! All the while enjoying the unique chemistry of Pure Bliss desserts. (Side note, best dessert place in the nation. If you ever find yourself in Bellingham, you need to go to Pure Bliss and get a piece of cake as pictured above. You're welcome.)
In my short transition from grad school to Boston (10 days) I had just enough time to reflect on a book I had meant to read for ages: the Chemistry of Alchemy. While I have become amazed with chemistry, my love of the subject actually started with the magic of alchemy. But in no time at all I found myself whisked away from the mountains and forests and found myself on an island in the blue bay.
Even though I was within Boston city limits, my lifestyle was far more remote than people might think. There was plenty of time for podcasts and research, so posts covering S-Town and the bombardier beetle worked well with island life. But the influence of the ocean really shown through by diving into new life in the Plastisphere and what really is salinity. But just as the tides comes and goes, so I transitioned back to the forests, rivers, and mountains that I'm from.
In Pittsburgh I was finally able to have a less nomadic life. I could work on my computer, start brewing, and even celebrate little holidays like Mole Day! But it was the countless conversations both in WA and MA that spurred some thoughts on chemistry and gender identity: topics that I never would have thought would ever connect.
2017 has been a crazy year for many reasons, but it is through learning that I know I personally grow so much. As I look into 2018, I can't even being to imagine what sort of adventures and life long learning it will bring!