I’m a biologist, but I love to paint. Specifically, I love to paint landscapes. There’s just something about capturing a moment in space and time and fixing it forever on a blank surface as a visual time capsule. Sure, the process is long and tedious. Capturing the finest details of an image takes patience and focus, but the absolute hardest part by far, is the first stroke. Before you can even tap into that limitless store of creativity within your heart and mind, you’ve got to swallow a big nasty spoonful of boldness; the audacity to take a perfectly untarnished white canvas and scar it with whatever your idea of art is. Those first few moments when you mix the paint on your pallet into a desired hue and slowly inch the paintbrush toward a spot on the canvas last an eternity. The closer you get to the canvas, the less sure you are of what you’re about to attempt. You doubt, but somehow the fear is defeated by daring. You breathe out, in, and begin. You make contact.
I’ve been promising myself I’d begin this blog for months, but beginning has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do recently, making contact. BUT here I am! It’s 12:35 AM on Christmas, well the day after, and I’m wide awake double fisting a hot cup of tea and an iced glass of whiskey. I’m on a roll now that I’m past that first poetic paragraph about paintings, so it’s time to introduce myself.
My name is Timothy Odom, but every person that isn’t angry with me or my mother calls me TJ. I’m a first year graduate student at Georgia Southern University studying Biology, 25 years old, and an out and proud gay man from right smack dab in the middle of Alabama.
I’m also now, officially, a science blogger. Well, that’s the purpose of this blog at least. There’s this elitist separation of academic science from the non-scientist majority of the population, and it’s so important for transparency and science outreach to be a heavy focus for every science dude or dudette with a voice. So, here’s mine.
I have the distinguished pleasure of studying life. That’s what biology means: “the study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin, and distribution”.
It’s such a beautiful thing to sit and think about; everything that lives or has ever lived. The origins of life. The journey of life. It all grows and changes. It adapts, overcomes, persists, and yes, evolves.
Charles Darwin said it best: “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
It’s not always poetic epiphanies though. Science is, in it’s truest form, a process. Really, anything that operates following the scientific method (there will be a whole post about that later, so I wont go into it now) is science. Figuring out why your coffee pot won’t turn on is science. Replacing an ingredient in your grandmother’s peach cobbler recipe with something a little less artery clogging is science.
I think that everyone is a scientist. BABIES are scientists, and once we establish what that means, we can really get somewhere. (dramatic priming for my next post)
Get ready folks. This blog is going to be a ride. I’ll do my best to take you all with me as I make my own journey through the study of what I love, life. We’ll hike through forests, trudge marshes and swamps, wade through rivers and streams, ascend mountains, and sit through way too many DNA extractions. So, lace up your boots and liberally apply your DEET, because where we’re going, there will likely be a lot of mosquitoes.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step out onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -J.R.R. Tolkien