Throughout time, monumental discoveries have been made that have greatly benefited society. Although every discovery eventually receives its time in the spotlight, the brilliance of many discoveries by hardworking scientists go overlooked until long after the scientists are gone. We who benefit from these discoveries end up saying that these people were “ahead of their time,” and therefore they were not recognized for their greatness and potential during the time in which they lived.
This anthology includes 20 instances where discoveries from a wide variety of scientific fields were made before the world was ready for them. Also included in these 20 examples are the profiles of scientists who did not receive the recognition they should have at the time, simply because their discovery was not made in a time period that could fully implement and comprehend their discovery’s advanced features and societal importance.
In her book Genentech, Sally Smith Hughes tells the story of the rise of the biotech giant Genentech. Hughes is a historian of biomedicine and biotechnology at the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley. She takes us through the tumultuous early years of Genentech’s history, showing how the company grew from a trio of founders to a massive organization that made a fortune through the stock market. From Herb Boyer and Stanley Cohen’s development of recombinant DNA, to Tom Perkins and Bob Swanson offering Genentech as an IPO, Hughes makes a great effort to describe every major step that Genentech had to take and every hurdle they had to pass to find both commercial and scientific success. When a new person enters the company, Hughes describes them in detail, and her descriptions present these entrepreneurs and scientists as likeable characters who truly care about the work they do. She skillfully and simply describes both the complex science behind Genentech’s research and the caveats of the business world, which helped Genentech grow and succeed financially. To enhance the quality of the Genentech story, the book is filled with many photographs of the people discussed in the book as well as a few diagrams that add explanations of various scientific concepts such as DNA recombination. In this short but interesting book, Hughes provides insight into the origins of the biotechnology industry, as well as introduces readers to some of the problems early innovators in the industry had to face. Continue reading “The Birth of a New Industry: The Rise of Genentech”→
Chapter four of “Genentech” discusses the exploration of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is made by beta cells in our pancreas. These beta cells manufacture and release insulin into our bodies and control blood so that it may circulate and allow glucose to enter and fuel the cell. Insulin controls other aspects of our metabolism such as converting fat to glucose and glucose into fat. Interesting enough, animal insulin was the first type of insulin administered to humans to control diabetes. However today animal insulin has been replaced by human insulin. Animal insulin is taken from the pancreas of animals, usually pigs and cows. The sequence of amino acids is slightly different than insulin from a different species. Animal insulin is typically made from highly purified pancreas extracts and is marketed as “animal” insulin.
“He knew the necessary necessary molecular and biochemical techniques, and the growing problem of antibiotic resistance was an appropriate topic for a physician” (pg.7)
The beginning of Chapter one introduces Cohen and his journey with medicine. It talks about how he is smart and could help with the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. After reading what I quoted above, I began to question what antibiotic resistance was. After some research I found out that antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of an antibiotic. When antibiotic resistance occurs the effectiveness of the drug is reduced and the bacteria survives causing more harm. Bacteria survives and ends up multiplying. Serious illnesses that can be treated with antibiotics could now not be treated since antibiotics are slowly becoming resistant.Today more than ever, antibiotics are prescribed to people for colds, acne, the flu and more. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics increases the chance of a resistance to antibiotics. It is important to know the facts when you are sick with before a doctor prescribes an antibiotic. If something can be treated on its own with proper sleep, water, etc then that is a better option. Science is always evolving and scientists are looking for ways to reverse the cycle of antibiotic resistance.
In Samantha Weinberg’s book, Pointing from the Grave, readers are told the true story about a man named Paul Frediani and his conflict with the law. The British novelist, journalist, and travel writer tells us about how she became fascinated by the story of Helena Greenwood, a woman who was sexual assaulted and then murdered by her alleged assaulter in the 1980’s. Although Pointing from the Grave is a nonfiction book, Weinberg writes about both Frediani and Helena as if they were characters in a story, giving a fiction feel to her book. Weinberg tells the story of Helena and David Paul Frediani, her alleged assailant, as though it is unfolding before our eyes, intertwining scientific knowledge and human emotions in order to grab and hold her reader’s attention. The scientific knowledge Weinberg uses in her book stems from the biotechnology field (specifically forensics) and although she uses a lot of scientific terms that many people would be unfamiliar with, she presents the material in a clear and concise way that is easy for the average reader to understand. Continue reading “Modern DNA: The Prosecution’s Greatest Ally”→
“Frediani has the personality of a sociopath: Charismatic, impulsive, hedonistic, smart, manipulative, faithless in sexual relationships, and ultimately remorseless” (Weinberg Chapter 21, pg. 339)”
Chapter 21 of Pointing from the Grave explores how Frediani has personality traits of a sociopath. The quote above mentions how Frediani is faithless in relationships and that trait attributes to a sociopath. Throughout the story we learn that Frediani falls for women very fast and he sees himself together with his women for a long period of time. In his relationships everything is all good until suddenly something happens and Frediani begins to have aggressive behavior. His partners find it very hard to trust him because of his sudden behavior changes. I found an article discussing sociopaths in relationships that explore personality patterns.
Essentially sociopaths in relationships are confusing. They are confusing because their emotions are completely different from their partners. They lack empathy which is “the ability to understand or share feelings with another person” (Oxford English Dictionary). Sociopaths tend to be extreme with their emotions, one minute they are caring and the next they are angry. With this type of behavior, sociopaths are able to manipulate their partner. Their partner may not feel comfortable speaking about the harsh times of the relationship because the sociopaths can easily switch back to being sweet and kind. The relationships are a whirlwind of emotions that generally affect the person dating the sociopath. I was shocked learning about this type of relationship and truly hope anyone involved in a situation like this can find a way out of it.
“They sit as far away from away from everyone else they can, and make sure their lines of sight cannot be intercepted” (pg.269)
Chapter 18 of “Pointing From the Grave” introduces the jury and the jury’s place in the Ferdiani trial. The jury consists of the body of people that give a verdict in legal cases on the basis of the evidence submitted to them in court. In many court cases especially high profile cases the media is heavily involved. The media has a big influence on society and spreads information to many people. When crimes receive lots of media the defendant, prosecutors and defense attorneys deal with the challenge of having the public know everything that is going on with the case. Essentially, the media can be a big distraction. The jurors are hidden from the media but still have to deal with press and their cameras in the courtroom. Media is a good thing because it keeps the public informed however it is stressful to have media involved in high profile trials.When I was reading this chapter I kept on thinking on how everyone felt in the courtroom with so many people surrounding them. Everyone works hard to present their case and nobody wants to be biased. Ferdiani’s jurors had to keep straight faces in the courtroom to stay unbiased and focused on the facts of the case. I look forward to observing how the media is like on the next high profile court case in the news.
“The UK has always been at the forefront of forensic DNA research, he states quietly , “and we still are” (Chapter 14 ,page 220)
Chapter 14 of Pointing from the Grave mentions how the United Kingdom has always been leading in DNA research and holds a database for a select number of UK individuals. The database is very helpful for solving crimes and the database will continue to grow. I researched about DNA databases and find out that Kuwait is creating a mandatory DNA database. A huge islamic led suicide bombing hit Kuwait city a year ago and government officials believe that a DNA database will make it easier for arrests. It will only deb used for criminal security cases. All Kuwaiti citizens and visitors will be asked to submit their DNA. “Any person who refuses to submit to the DNA tests and data mining operation will be subject to $33,000 in fines and up to one year in prison. Any person who provides a fake sample will face up to seven years.”
In Chapter 11 of Pointing from the Grave, Ferdiani receives surgery on his eye because he does not have 20/20 vision. I became intrigued by the eye and decided to research on the two common vision conditions. The two most common types of vision conditions are nearsightedness and farsightedness. Nearsightedness( myopia) is when close objects are seen clearly but objects further away appear blurred. This happens when the light that comes to the eye does not focus directly on the retina but instead goes in front of it. When someone with nearsightedness looks in a distance the objects are not focused. Farsightedness (hyperopia) occurs when distant objects are seen clearly and close objects are not able to come into proper focus. This happens when the eyeball is short or if the cornea is not curved properly.
Pointing from the Grave brings up a huge issue of the perpetrator’s race. She is questioned multiple times if he is black, white, hispanic and more. This brought me to discuss race and crime in the United States. In the United States of America there are many people of color who are in prison. People of color are not treated the same as their white counterparts. Many people do not have equal access to the housing, public benefits , employment and more. One reason that people of color are facing this problems is due to the war on drugs. According to the NAACP,”In 2002, blacks constituted more than 80% of the people sentenced under the federal crack cocaine laws and served substantially more time in prison for drug offenses than did whites, despite that fact that more than 2/3 of crack cocaine users in the U.S. are white or Hispanic”.The amount of drug use in these communities has significantly increased. Another major problem facing people of color is that, once convicted black and hispanic offenders face a longer sentencing than white offenders.
Works Cited: “Criminal Justice Fact Sheet.” Criminal Justice Fact Sheet. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.
Here is a website featuring criminal justice reform : Website
In Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From, readers are able to get a glimpse into the process of creating major innovations. Johnson has already established himself as an insightful and creative author with his other books like The Ghost Map, which looks into the spread and cure of cholera in London. In each of his books, Johnson explains complicated concepts in a novel and simple way, allowing contemporary readers to understand the points he is trying to make. This book is no exception, with each chapter illuminating a different quality of the ideal idea-making process. To prove his points, Johnson uses a myriad of examples of innovation ranging from lone inventors to the exploits of coral reefs to the creation of the very first computers. Through each example in his novel, Johnson shows his idea-making concepts at work in real life. Continue reading “Where Good Ideas Come From: A Method to the Madness of Innovation?”→
The major difference between identical and fraternal twins are the number of fertilized eggs in the process. Identical twins come from the same fertilized egg. This happens when a single embryo splits into two after fertilization. Identical twins have the same DNA because they come from the same embryo. After much research, I found out that the splitting of an embryo happens by chance and genes are not involved. Fraternal twins happens when two separate eggs are fertilized by different sperm. Due to the different sperm the DNA of fraternal twins has to be different. Women become pregnant during ovulation when an egg is released to the sperm and is fertilized. Women usually release one egg during a cycle but for fraternal twins to happen, two eggs are released during one cycle. This is called hyper ovulation. Some women have genes that enable them to hyper ovulate while others release only one egg.
Dr.Bennet Omalu is a Nigerian doctor who is recognized worldwide for his discoveries in autopsies for football. With his many degrees and interest in pathology, Dr. Bennet Omalu conducted the autopsy of the Pittsburgh Steeler, Mike Webster. His autopsies of football players led to the discovery of a new disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have suffered a severe blow to the head. Dr.Bennet Omalu’s discovery has changed the football world and has made it necessary for advanced protection of the brain for football players. Oman’s journey to discovery can be found in the movie “Concussion”. The movie is amazing and shows examples of the adjacent possible, liquid networks and error.
Chapter 3 discusses Mendel’s discovery of genes, and how his study is known as “genetics”. Mutations can occur with genes and effects can occur such as Sickle Cell Disease. Sickle Cell can happen when one parent has the sickle cell trait and the other has an abnormal hemoglobin gene.If both parents are carriers there is a 1 and 4 chance that their child will have sickle cell. The disease is prevalent in populations in or from Africa, and the Middle East. These are major areas where malaria is prevalent. When someone has sickle cell their red blood cells become distorted into a sickle shape and provide low oxygen. There are many treatments for sickle cell such as blood transfusions and an array of pain medications. Unfortunately, no cure has been found. As a Ghanaian American with family members and friends who have sickle cell. I would like for many people to be aware of this disease and I hope some day someone is able to find a cure.
In Chapter 2 of “Pointing from the Grave”, police officials took fingerprint samples of a teapot at the scene and unfortunately did not find matching fingerprints. Although it did not work in this case, fingerprints are very important because they can identify people in a criminal case. Fingerprints are an individual characteristic and there are no identical fingerprints. During someone’s lifetime fingerprints will stay the same and remain unchanged. In addition, fingerprints have specific patterns that can be classified. The three different classes are loops, whorls and arches. Since fingerprints never change they can be very useful in criminal investigations because of the high accuracy rate. When somebody’s fingerprint is at a crime scene it is very easy to access the fingerprint information and match it to a person.
“She is finding it hard to trust her mind these days. She is more jumpy, less sure of herself “
After a sexual incident, victims are most likely prone to some range of trauma. In “Pointing From the Grave” after Helena’s assault she was very distressed and found it hard talking about the incident. Some consequences are PTSD, flashbacks, STDS, and Depression. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety that comes from a traumatic event. Flashbacks are when memories of the event come back in the present moment. Sexually Transmitted Diseases can be contracted during the incident and affect the victim for life. Depression is psychological disorder of constant. sad and hopeless mood. These feelings affects a person’s daily life and relationships. Sexual Violence has a lot of side effects that are not always easy to deal with. Evaluating one’s mental stance should be one the first things that done after the incident. Seeking counseling is a great way to deal with consequences of the incident.
“Multiple developments precipitate this shift, starting with Gutenberg’s press, which begins to have a material impact on secular research a century and a half after the first bible hits” pg. 228
The printing press is a remarkable invention which has greatly helped millions of people. During the 1400’s a very basic for of printing existed. Letters or images were cut out on blocks of wood, the wood would be dipped in inc and put on paper. A German man named Johann Gutenberg observed this and realized he could make printing bigger and better. He wanted to make a machine and instead of using wood he chose to use metal. Today the printers are electronic and take the forms of the words with ink and transfers it to the paper. The printing press has been a wonderful invention because people can have tangible books, magazines, newspapers etc.
“Scientists have long recognized the importance of the relationship between the coral and a microscopic algae called zooxanthella” pg. 201
In a coral reef system it is normal for symbiosis to occur. Symbiosis comes from the word “sym” which means together and “biosis” which means life. When symbiosis occurs two organisms get together and benefit from each other. Corals have a symbiotic life. Inside each coral polyp lives an algae called zooxanthella. The zooxanthella gives off oxygen and other nutrients for the coral polyp to live. In return, the polyp gives the zooxanthella carbon dioxide and other things that the algae needs. Coral reefs usually grow closer to the surface of the water. There the sunshine is closer for photosynthesis to occur.
Here is an interesting video featuring coral reef symbiosis : Video
Millennials are people born between 1977 and 2000. They are a distinctive group of people because they are living in a booming technology era. Johnson defines millennials as the “digital age mode” (pg.172). The brain of a millennial works differently because it has been exposed to various amounts of technology. These amounts of technology are readily available at their fingertips. They are exposed to a large amount of information and are able to find that information fast. Millennials are great at multi tasking, group collaborations and brainstorming. Since millennials are always around fast efficient technology, they to seek to work fast yet efficiently. In addition, millennials are open to new ideas and do not limit their thinking. I think the greatest thing about being a millennial is that we have access to networking. For example my favorite network is LinkedIn, a social network which makes it easier for people to network for jobs.
Penicillin is an antibiotic drug discovered by accident. It was founded by Sir Alexander Fleming who at the time was experimenting with the influenza virus in a lab. The scientist took a break from experimenting and weeks later found mold on a plate. When the scientist found the mold, he investigated it and noticed the mold prevented growth of staphylococci. After this discovery, Fleming tested the mold and found out it can work against bacteria. Today, the penicillin drug treats many life threatening illnesses such as meningitis and pneumonia.
This is one of many serendipitous moments in science that has happened influencing society for the better. These accidental happenings in science are amazing and are so interesting to read out. I wonder what will be discovered next by accident.
“Silicon sits directly below carbon on the periodic table, and shares its four valence electronics . But silicon lacks carbon’s unique versatility.” pg. 50
I was interested in silicon when it was brought up in Chapter Two: Liquid Networks because I did not know much about it so I decided to do some research about it.Silicons atomic number is 14 and symbol is Si. Silicon may lack some qualities that Carbon has but silicon paired with other elements is beneficial and widely used in electronics. For example when silicon is paired with aluminum, large metallic parts can be manufactured. Silicon and aluminum creates a good fluidity balance so it can create parts with different types of shape and consistency. Silicon can also be used as a conductor when mixed with small amounts of elements such as boron. I am happy I looked into silicon because I learned so much information I did not know. Check out the link below for some cool facts!
This website discusses how amazing silicon is in our electronics
“Innovative environments are better at helping their inhabitants explore the adjacent possible, because they expose a wide and diverse sample of spare parts”
The concept of building ideas with one another in the adjacent possible really stuck out to me. It reminded me of an experience I had last summer when I toured Google’s New York office. Google’s office structure is not like an ordinary office. The office has wide open spaces with big tables for a collaborative feel. Employees are allowed to dress casual and have daily group meeting with people in the office and use Google hangout to video chat with employees in different countries. All of the employees at Google are from different backgrounds and come together everyday to learn from each other. Free food is available at all times for each employee. There is also a fitness center and a video game area in the offices. Google takes an innovative environment to a whole new level. I hope that many companies can form innovative offices like Google.
Here is an article that I found very interesting about Google:
In Chapter three of “Where do good ideas come from” by Steven Johnson the concept of the “slow hunch” is introduced. The slow hunch discusses setbacks that occur while forming ideas and how it takes a long time to achieve goals but eventually they will come to happen.I think that setbacks get you prepared for what is coming in the future. I wanted to encourage everyone especially my fellow college students to continue working hard. It may seem like a draining process, you can’t seem to find the right major that fits you, you are unsure of what study abroad program you want to attend, those are the many factors that effect us college students. The slow hunch will occur but there is greatness at the end. I am hear to say you can’t fail until you quit.
The trouble with error is that we have a natural tendency to dismiss it- pg. 138
We as humans make mistakes all the time. To be honest, it is in our nature. If we did everything perfectly right that would not be normal. However, when mistakes are made we should not dismiss them. Mistakes happen for a reason so we can learn from them. If something wrong happens let us not urge to dismiss the mistake but embrace it. A perfect example of a big error would be Steve Harvey announcing the wrong winner for Miss Universe 2015. Instead of announcing Miss Philippines as the winner for the pageant he said Miss Columbia. From the moment Steve Harvey knew he had made a mistake he acknowledged it and apologized.Steve Harvey made it clear to the audience who the real winner was, Miss Philippines. He was honest and corrected what happened as soon as he knew he was at fault.
In “Where Good Ideas come from” Johnson mentions a concept titled the “10/10 rule”, where it takes,
“A decade to build the new platform and a decade for it to find a mass audience” (pg.21).
Johnson explains how this rule has worked for most technology except for Youtube. When Youtube was created it became an automatic sensation. Youtube allows the world to share ideas through a platform of videos. These videos give way for people to become aware of social issues, political ideas, and to post personal opinions and more.
Youtube is also a large advertising and marketing platform. Many of the videos on youtube contain advertisements from different companies. Advertising and marketing professional look at the video activity online and monitor a target audience. These professionals then link their advertisements to targeted videos and earn money from the amount of viewers to the advertisement.
Youtube has definitely changed our generation to be innovative in sharing ideas. Whether you are like me and enjoy watching makeup tutorials or watching inspirational videos, there is something on Youtube just for you!
Here is a link featuring the Top 20 Youtube videos of 2015 : Video