8.11.09

chemistry 101

 
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i used to take chemistry as an undergraduate. as a hopeful pre-med, i had to take the holy trinity of basic science: physics, chemistry and biology, and my favorite used to be physics. for the simple reason i can see it! most of things, even small things, can be seen and felt through a well-built models and there was something about the fact that physics involved moving things. things that are in transitional space, reacting, bouncing off one another, transferring force, torque etc etc.

biology on the other hand, was completely boring. i bet it gets better as you get into higher level, but unfortunately at the undergraduate level, it's all about memorizing and little bits of very simple concepts. bah. don't we have sufficient biological catalogue for that? it was classes more closer to calculus and identification than actual meaty parts of biology (as i understood it must exist at some point, back then. i think it's one discipline that the introduction stage can be quite dull).

now. chemistry. i always had a curiosity towards things that moves and interact (see above), but because chemistry tends to work with very small things, only thing i could see are the physical reactions or results, rather. burning magnesium and going blind, using hydrochloric acid to etch lewd comments on benches, things like that. haha. though i do have to say there was something really nice and neat about doing molecular equations. adding things into a pot and see how they all turn out. it's rather simple things, but however very relaxing and comforting: life fits in!

then i learned there's a whole other world of mess called quantum physics. i have two friends at CERN and i can only imagine how cluttered their heads must be. i will often dabble into a very small part of such wonders (it is impossible to not to get involved in the idea of universe/time and so forth, dont you think?), as a very low level connoisseur of such intricate stuff. it is always more fun, i think, to be an enthusiast and try to draw many absurd parallels as much as i can. haha.

and one of the parallels that got into monkey head is the one of covalent bond. simple covalent bond. like hydrochloride. and so please, feel free to read the small monkey note for the explanation. but the funny thing is the word covalent bond. it is a two parts word, co + valent.

the first part: co-/com-: from latin 'cum': together, with, in combination. related to greek 'kom,' beside, near, by with.
then valence: from latin 'valentia': strength, capacity. the verb form is 'valere,' to be strong, to combine power (from an element to another, as of covalent bond)

in the spaceship, i get to meet many different people. some are complacent and happy (must be one of the noble gases; noble gases are found on the periodic table, vii a/b, the column going down. with complete outer electron orbits (of eight), they are stable, happy and doesnt really wanna do much. helium, neon, argon... those guys). and then there are some highly reactive, either negatively or positively charged. and what is monkey's role? i feel as if i could be the most indecisive, flaky one of all, hydrogen. the simplest one. the most impatient and curious one. so i float around and form the bond with other characters. and these bonds, if we subscribe to string string theory, will resonate. and behind the three big dimensions we know and see, down to 11th, all these interactions and resonating bond will have a fundamental shift in my own being, as well as the other, however small they may be.

it's comforting to play safe. even when one is drawn to a new idea and concepts, places and people. safety, like recently mentioned deathgrip, is easy. nice and easy. snoooooze. and often, not as a direct opposite, however, to let things in and out can feel quite risky. that's probably why the other day i started to laugh out loud in the middle of lloyd hallway. someone scribbled: go do something fun and risky! and i thought wtf. if you already know it's fun, then it's not risky. it's just difficult, inconvenient, or something- but not risky. if it is risky, you cant be sure YET if it would be fun- how can you be so sure!! so in order to determine what's fun, one must risk, but cannot experience both simultaneously. how silly and how stupidly simple, sigh.

but if i were to be a true hydrogen, i cant help but being a flaky, busy, unsettled small thing, darting around and disturbing everything, including my own. oh the inquisitive mind. or impatient, lack of attention, whatever you may call it. im probably having a very grand idea of self at the moment, however, i cant help it but to think how complicated one may feel about such simple concept. hmm. covalent bond. well. may as well live it through.

1 comment:

  1. from secondary school chemistry lesson; the minor explosion of hydrogen in a flask. teacher drops in the match, the H burps out a loud but amusing pop and is gone. hydrogen made a big impression that day. the power of its pop was surprising; a mini Hindenburg in the chemy lab.

    as the simplest element, you do make an impression... making fire, resonating, bonding things together. it suits you. may as well live it!

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