Saturday, August 05, 2006

I Wanna Be a Science Nerd

Over the summer, I came to a startling awareness that has resulted in a choice that I'm still unsure about. Here's the deal: when I hike, I see rocks, and I wonder about them. How did that big chunk of (what I think is) granite get a vertical white stripe in it? How did that weird-shaped rock get left sticking out of a meadow? What makes the Appalachian mountains so rounded and green, while the mountains in the Grand Tetons, for example, are jagged and pointy and barren? (I know a bit of the answer to that is age, but I'd like to know more). So, I've decided to take up my employer on the promise to pay for 3 hours of coursework a semester, and use it to pursue these questions and others yet undiscovered. This fall, beginning August 27th or so, I'll be a freshman taking an introductory Geology course, also known as "Rocks for Jocks."

Another part of this for me is that I know I'll be pursuing something I don't have strengths in. Every other degree I've gotten has been in an area of strength -- literature, words, history, etc. I'm looking forward to a challenge, an intellectual one, that will require me to push on areas of weakness and make them stronger. At least, that's the tack I'm taking on it currently; we'll see when I start having to do math.

I'll keep you posted, my couple of readers . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Leslie, in regard to geology...congrats to you. Geology is everywhere, even the broken streets of Houston, caused by small faults all over the place. If I remember my geology well enough, circa Spring 1970, someday (billions and billions of years from now), Houston will be just like the Rocky Mountains. I believe it's the largest geosyncline in the world.

I'm taking a chance here and going back 36 years ago to Dr. King's class at the U of H, and I believe that the difference between the Grand Tetons and the Appalachians is not age, if you're thinking of "wearing away"; I think it's in the way they were formed. And if I'm wrong, someone can scold me for passing false info'.

Dr. King was the geologist who trained the original astronauts in geology so they could identify what they saw when they got to the moon. Our class had an early viewing of the "Moon Rocks", slides of thinly cut portions, and they contained the colors of a Persian rug, blues and reds and magentas. Also during that semester, Apollo 13 had it's "Houston, we have a problem" problem. We waited, holding our breath, along with Dr. King who knew them all personally.

Geology is fun! All those rocks and formations tell a story. Have fun "reading" on the trail.