Cassie Rodenberg: Electron-ic Bonds

mad scientists
June 5, 2009, 9:35 am
Filed under: Musings, Science

I run my life like most scientists run their labs: with precision. I have a fierce independence that my mother originally noticed in me as a child, though she noticed this with a sadness that singes me even today. 

From what I’ve seen, many scientists feel this way. The cool control of the lab is exhilarating, having a teetering, pin-pricked purposefulness, which you pray will give way to a dizzying surge of accomplishment. Emotion is riddled in the lab atmosphere: the sheen of sweat on a beaker that spins at a frenzied pace, the whine of the particles melding with a solution. Independence is key.

This independence comes with a price, a constant, nibbling nervous energy of stagnation, regression, and, ultimately, failure. Failure and fear of grant rejection, of community ignorance, of the pressure you place on yourself. 

Usually, this low-level anxiety eats away at the corners of your drive and purpose until you finish what you started, but negative side affects include a voracious appetite for new projects, unsettling looks from family and insomnia. But is the end worth the means? For you, yes. You can’t help your independent nature any more than you can avoid your morning coffee. 

It makes sense that a large portion of life’s overachievers are scientists – those with the inclination to thrive and continue a consciousness-consuming project and goal. It’s harder for those that cannot justify there work as something for the “Greater Good.” Families that ask: “Do you really need to write now?” “What do you mean, you just got an idea?” And thus, those with independence are caught up in a continuous cycle, eased into becoming more and more solitary. Here, I think of old movies, where scientists are “mad” and pent-up in a castle tower. 

Luckily though, tools soothe and eventually drive you back to society. The gentle breathing of the fume hood eases the tension in your spine. The tap-tap-tapping of the keyboard massages your ever-stressed shoulders. The method captivates and remedies all ills, singing the softest of lullabies to your hands that seem to always need occupation.


1 Comment so far
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Yes, I do agree with your opinion. Independence and Excellence come with a price.

Comment by Ms. Buckyball

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