Yesterday Tanya Ya wrote about the moment science captured her heart.
Although I have been exposed to science my whole life – as explained here in my letter to Sir David Attenborough – I can recall a few key moments that stand out. Incidents that sealed the deal, as it were. Here’s one:
I received a ‘science kit’ around the age of 10. It contained a very low power microscope, some dissection instruments plus two creatures preserved in alcohol – a crustacean and a freakishly large grasshopper.
Every part of me wanted to cut open the animals and see what was inside. I vividly recall clutching the scalpel and pressing it against the the softened shell of the wee crayfish. But to pierce its exterior was one step I couldn’t make. I hesitated, preferring instead to perform a detailed anatomical study. I turned it and its insect friend around and around, over and over, picking up new details upon each revolution.
Prompted by the booklet that accompanied my microscope, next I took to a nearby stream with an ice-cream container. As instructed by the manual, and clad in my best gumboots, I stood in the water and identified large rocks. Placing the container underwater and immediately downstream of a chosen boulder, I lifted it up and allowed whatever was sheltering underneath it to be collected in my plastic tub.
I found the most incredible aliens! Although I know now these were probably larval stages of local insect species, back then I thought I’d discovered never-before seen creatures of the night. With my new microscope, I marvelled at their freaky bodies, legs, pincered mouths and antennae. Simply fascinating.
I was hooked.
[image thanks to Dave Huth on flickr]