Ok so I was reading about cell signaling and I realize that there are proteins that are inhibitors that “tell” a cell to stop gene expression. I took cell biology, but there is no way we ever got this deep into it, or I never tried to connect up proteins in the way that people that specifically study gene expression would. My analogy to Physics teaching would be like the relativity guy that says he can’t teach tensors or when I say I can’t teach unit conversion because I have no time. The cells are too complex for a 1 semester class.
My motivation to understand cell memory comes from the fact that gene products are so complicated. Enzymes make the chemical reactions occur more frequently,but it is the behavior of the genes that make the enzymes exist. The factors that control this are environmental chemicals so I wonder if the cell can sense how much enzyme is there and “tell” the gene to stop gene expression.
Wheeee! My first embedded link! I wanted it to be the most ridiculously complicated one too and hopefully it will just get better from here. Physics teachers should always start off with the complicated topics first and then work backwards to show how this complicated material helps explain the more basic material ( thanks Feynman!) This is kind of a backwards way of thinking about teaching but it is the most effective way.
I guess I better write about baseball as my interest will definitely drop soon unless the Red Sox have an incredible August, they are on life support right now and the plug will be pulled barring a major hot streak. The abitlity to hit a baseball requires unbelievable athleticism and quick reflexes. The movement of chemicals can’t be fast enough for this behavior to be accomplished. Once the electrical signal, which moves very quickly , reaches the peripheral nervous system, the cells have to be smart enough to react. The physics of baseball is a great book, it explains this behavior well. Its like riding a bike, once you learn how, you never forget.
Now that I am becoming a blogger(I’m a late bloomer, I always have been) the idea of computers influencing our lives seems like a good topic. The limitations of computer software were seen in the stock market problem we had recently as the dow lost 1000 points in 5 minutes or when programs written to make lots of money failed during the sub-prime mess. Science needs people that can think in computer language and have creative ideas that can advance science. The process of gene expression analysis requires computer programming, but the computer programmers don’t know how the complex world of genes work. Its like fishing and the sonar can’t tell if you are over a really large salmon or a bunch of little fish that aren’t worth catching.
I hope that if I put some provocative titles on posts then this blog will get some visitors. Richard Feynman has to be so sad that he was unable to be on the science channel, I mean he would have been a rock star. He would have blown away all the Physics characters they have on there now. When I reread Feynman’s lectures, which I have time to do because its summer, I am constantly impressed and sometimes annoyed because an idea I thought was original was just something I stole from him. I thought that the new pictures that the Planck telescope could be easily relateable to questions about the origin of gravitational force, but Feynman was way ahead of me on that subject. I can still tell my students about it though but I have to footnote it.
I am starting this blog because facebook’s character limits on status updates are just too much for my burgeoning writing career. Hopefully my students will check this out and I can put class materials that I hope they will appreciate. I’m sure I will also become filthy rich because of this material as well.