Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Citizen Science: NPDG

I've always been a fan of science, but not much of a scientist. As a kid, I hated math and, well, math, as they say, is the language of science. I learned to love math through a fantastic teacher in college and even made it through Calculus II (well, I passed, at least - by far the toughest course I had in 7 years of university). But I never had the self-discipline or the "knack" to be a great scientist. Still, I love science, or at least admire it a great deal.

So when I read Marcus Wohlsen's book Biopunk: Scientists Hack the Software of Life, I was very excited to become a participant in this whole science thing. Problem is, as any university can tell you, science costs money. Lots of money. At least for the stuff that "matters". Plus, my time is limited. Just about any spare time I can get goes into my writing, and I don't have a lot of spare time. Not nearly as much as I would like, anyway.

Now, I don't recall exactly where I heard about the University of Oklahoma's Natural Products Discovery Group. Some random place on the interwebs, but I don't remember where. But when I heard about their soil collection project, which plumbs the Earth - literally - for new drugs to improve our lives, I had to participate. It was easy, free, fun, and I feel like I'm making a difference. So here's to science and the awesome scientists who make discovery a democratic exercise! I am proud to call myself: A Citizen Scientist!

Me and my dirt, about to save the world:

My soil sample being prepped for shipment. No, that's not a bag of weed. No, really, it's not. Trust me, it's just dirt. Dirt that might save you from dying one day. Quit making fun of me!:

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