What you don’t know…

September 5, 2008

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not “Eureka!” but “That’s funny…”  ~Isaac Asimov

Science. Whether or not we know much about the enigmatic subject, it has shaped and helped define our natural world. Researchers the world over have labored over books and magnifying glasses, tables and charts, to give us essential information about the workings of the Earth, our universe, and ourselves.

Yet, unfortunately even in this ‘information age,’ the average American knows little more about science than what his doctor tells him if something goes wrong. The average American student’s ability to apply scientific reasoning in real life concepts is ranked 17th in the world, behind countries like Finland, Canada, Japan and Korea.

How many Americans know not to mix ammonia with bleach? How many know not to feed honey to infants? How many know mice droppings can contain Hanta virus? Aside from the major reform needed in the education system, what can we do to protect ourselves from those biological dangers which we know very little about?
It comes down to better dissemination of pertinent information to the public, in formats a non-microbiologist can understand.

As a junior Microbiology major, I’ve found myself learning a variety of things in my studies which should, by necessity, be common knowledge. My intention with this blog is to discuss health issues that are little known to the American public, yet pose a danger to all of us.

I am an aspiring researcher and plan to continue on to graduate school for my doctorate. I have been working in a research laboratory for 3 years now, mentoring under a microbiology professor and continuing my own research project under a grant awarded me by the American Society for Microbiology.

In this blog, I will attempt to translate the scientific jargon and I will post in general terms the straightforward information everyone ought to know about little known microbial dangers.