….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
Despite all great efforts from Australia and my desperate chinese family who really really wanted me to become a Medical Doctor, like many of my other relatives, I ended up working with the Arts. I got pretty decent grades for my sciences and aced it the first year in Clinical Psychology and Programming (well, that was pretty dorky, but okay….I got some guys from the Monash and Melbourne Computer club to do my extremely boring Fortran programming….it was insufferably dull in the lab sessions, if it weren’t for a couple of blonde bogans who also happened to be good at computer crib-crabs….too bad they put it all to evil use and now one or two of them might be stuck scoffing Ecuadorian Chocolate….oh well….at least I got a High Distinction for my science unit! Thanks Bogans!)
So I don’t really know how it came to be that I ended up knowing so many brilliant scientific minds, since at best I ignore all the geek talk and at worst…well…there was that little incident with calling some Dude at a NASA related research institute a “spineless mollusc cowering in the force of evolution”. Ah, he annoyed me and besides…..it is deceitful to go around telling women at Buddhist temples you are a driving instructor when in fact you are a bastard who designs Weapons of war and such crap! So he deserved that…I don’t care what the hell award he won…..and no, I’m allowed to do whatever I want…and he is free to frame my insults up in his home office as he promised he would! What a dork!
The last fight ended in him going,”I only like women who wear old second hand clothes and wear thick glasses…and I had lunch with a Physics legend in his sunny garden on his estate…”
and I go,” Sorry, did you say something relevant to fashion? I went to Paris to BUY a pre-fashion week dress and ate Croissants with a heterosexual Gaultier male model! You can save your “preference” for someone who thinks your opinion of the world is relevant….oh, and what did the Physics legend have for lunch? Anything nice?”
But I digress….
The point of the story is I also met Peter C. Doherty who is one of Australia’s Nobel Science Prize winner at a talk in London at some point. That was really interesting because I got to watch some cells explode….I think it was mitosis? Or something….
At the time he was researching Avian Flus and was dashing to Hong kong a lot. We got into a bit more of an exchange while he was signing his books. I told him I just returned from my MBA research in Beijing at Tsinghua university and was looking at innovations and sustainability. As it was often the case, I don’t know how I got into a conversation about Innovations of discovery v. Innovation of methods. We went on for a bit. He talked about how he ended up researching in America and I talked about the Tall Poppy syndrome in the more conservative end of Australia and the risk adversion of Continental Europe. That was when the organisors cut the conversation short because it was all getting a bit “heavy” and taking up too much air-time.
I don’t really expect I would meet him again. But the following spring, I went to the Gorbachev Foundation ..that’s another story…but suffice to say that it has been one of the greatest honours of my life to be able to access Nobel Peace and other Prize laureates, along with one or two from the Judging panels, in more informal settings where it is possible to interact in an un-pressured way. I value the experience everytime and would never ever take it for granted.
It was a great opportunity to learn something new about Genetics. It is one of the few area in science that would interest me if ever I was to become a scientist which unfortunately was not my calling in life!
But the presence of scientifically rebellious personalities continue to enter my life, probably because my own Great Grandfather was one of the scientific Rebels that insisted on research into what is now a vibrant area of research, that of fusing eastern and western medicine through research into traditional cures and finding the reasons for its efficacy through modern research methodologies. He became quite the political advocate for this area of research. He was not wrong when it came to Western assumptions and Racist arrogance in light of the British Colonial attitude of his generation. Well, Old Great Grandpa Yu had the last laugh….because that little thing into Gall Bladder stone decades later cracked it wide open!
So I guess I’m used to a certain Garrulous and Rebellious attitude as part of my spiritual inheritence.
The problem was that the Australia that I grew up in was so hell-bent on creating more female scientists, it almost felt like tokenism. But I’m not sorry to see the generations of women that grew up with the faculty of Science being less and less male-dominated (well, except for Engineering). I liked that friends of mine who were great at Science did not feel the need to “dress like one of the guys”. Some of them went out of their way to tart up in Red and Black leather outfits and high heeled pumps to class just to make the point (that …or they were also all really obsessed with fashion too!)
It does not surprise me that via my female friendship network, I would meet up with a character like Michiko Smith, who is one of those ladies who can fuse creativity with Sceintific knowledge. I’m glad she asked me to suggest her facebook page to my readers. She will be doing a series of lecture at Melbourne University about Producing for the ABC and how that aligns with her Master in Genetics.
I think it is very exciting and I hope she will make Scientific theories more accessible and entertaining….more Peter.C.Doherty style and less my moronic ex style! 🙂 Oh well….birthdays come and go…my immaturity stays forever!
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Just for your info My next post goes up at 8:30am on 1st of Feb AEST this is what it is about:
People of Chinese decent were hit harder by the swine flu than Caucasians. Although 1 in 5 people were infected worldwide in 2009 – 2010, Chinese were more severely affected. British and Chinese scientists said this week this could be due to a gene variant common in the Chinese. The gene important for the immune system is called interferon-induced transmembrane protein-3 and is found in 69% of the Chinese tested in the study compared to 5.4% in Northern Europeans. This means that people of Chinese decent are not more likely to catch the influenza, but their illness is more likely to be severe. An estimated 200,000 people were killed in the first year of the swine flu outbreak. Source from www.nature.com