Friday, January 21, 2011

Being an Expert

Another day of snow.  Yipee (heavy sarcasm).  I was supposed to pick up a key to my new office today.  The snow means I'll be scrambling on Monday to get my office key before I have to get to classes.  I'm excited about my new office [yes, we will get to plants eventually, be patient].  All of the spaces in the building where I'll be teaching, and where all of the other members of my department have offices, are taken.  There's construction on campus so it's a temporary problem but it means I'll be in another building.  In order to get to my office after classes I'll have to go down one flight of stairs, across to the neighboring building and up three flights of stairs.   Can you say LEGS... OF... STEEL!!!!!  [The Husband is a leg man so I'm sure he'll be happy about this.]

Most importantly I will be the ONLY biologist in the building.  And we all know what that means [what?  you don't?  well good thing I'm here to explain it!] - every person with a biology question will find their way to my office at some point. [I actually hope this happens, I LOVE educating people.  Being a professor is the natural adult form of the child know-it-all.  The pupae stage, ie graduate school, is quite painful but you get to come out of that and be, well, an adult know-it-all].

How can I be an expert on all things biology?  I can't.  But I have a diverse background and, most importantly, I know how to find good sources, interpret their information and translate it into non-science English.  I can read the papers, I know several experts to ask questions (hello, Mr. Subjunctive!) and I can recognize woo.  That's all you need.  Well, that and internet access and a library.  Which I will have in my new job.  Yipee!

OK, OK, here's the plant stuff I promised you.  A picture of my Cuban Oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus).  It's got pretty leaves and a nice scent but it gets a little leggy in the winter.  Come spring I'll take new cuttings, pot them up, move them outside and when they've taken root the parent plant goes into the compost bin.  I am a cruel plant mistress.  They should be glad I don't whip them to stimulate windy conditions that cause more compact growth!

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