Day 354. First love

In July 2013 on July 31, 2013 at 2:11 pm


Many of you will know Tanya Ha as an environmental campaigner, from her days on TV reporting for ABC’s Catalyst or on Twitter as @Ha_Tanya.

At the moment, Tanya juggles ‘green stuff’ with motherhood and part-time study towards a Master of Environment degree. She also keeps a finger in science communication, working with Science in Public.

Testament to her love of recycling, when Tanya saw that I welcomed guest posts on ScienceforLife.365, she felt inspired to revamp a piece she originally wrote for the Catalyst production blog, (which is no longer online).

The post  – entitled ‘First Love‘  – describes how Tanya first fell in love with chemistry:

One Saturday in August 2011, I was lying low (thanks to those pesky rhinoviruses).

Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I surfed the Net and ended up on the Catalyst Facebook page, and saw a post related to National Science Week which started with the following question:

“What made you fall in love with science?” 

This got me thinking.

I’ve always been curious and interested in the world around me. I was one of those kids that followed up What’s that? with Why is it like that?

With my own children I’ve seen the seemingly inbuilt fascination humans have with the world around them – animals, trees, the moon and stars at night, and so on. I often wonder if we’re born natural scientists, but then the rat race intervenes and throws a wet blanket over curiosity.

Although the start of my love for science in general is vaguer and deeper, I can trace my love for chemistry specifically to a single thing… the September 22nd, 1982 issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly!

women's weekly

80s flashback: Tanya’s treasured clipping, and the cover of the Women’s Weekly issue it came from. 

Somewhere in a box in my garage I have this clipping. I’ve carried it from house to house – it’s moved from Melbourne to Adelaide and back to Melbourne again.  It represents to me both the wonder of science and how influential science in the media can be.

Although in the past few years I haven’t managed to locate my original cutting, I managed to track it down in the National Library of Australia’s cultural archives. It was from a story about an exhibition of microscope image photographs by Dutch photographer Volk Mol. Volk Mol is from a family of chemists, which seems appropriate, given his surname. You can see the original story on the National Library of Australia’s Trove website, starting here.

My favourite image from the story is the bottom right silver feathery-looking picture of magnified acetylsalicylic acid – better known as ‘aspirin’. It took my breath away when I was a very young lass. I love the fact that something so common-place and ordinary can look so beautiful!

I’ve never forgotten my chemistry first love, and was glad to have found the article again.

Now Tanya – and I – would love to her from you. Post a comment below and tell us: what made you fall in love with science?

A ScienceforLife.365 guest post by Tanya Ha. You can find Tanya on twitter as @Ha_Tanya.

[image credit to Volk Mol]

  1. […] Yesterday Tanya Ya wrote about the moment science captured her heart. […]

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