Monday, March 2, 2009

A carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms

Spent all of Sunday tying DNA methylation data into my JCVI project. Another classic battle inside my brain:

I'm fascinated by everything we (humanity) knows about this process, and the fact that sitting in Omaha, NE on my laptop, my mentor and I can harness that information, creating millions of data points in a database of my design using software I wrote. What a wondrous time we live in, flush with opportunity to explore the universe.

I'm repulsed by the ambiguity of the datasets we work with. How can we not know what's actually happening? What's the point of me gathering a million possibilities? How is drowning in maybes helpful? My brain panics! Call me when we can know something!

Science seems to be about spotting and exploring trends in noisy data. My computer programmer brain likes on and off, black and white. Trends are tough for me to swallow. This recurring theme convinces me that I make a good scientist's side-kick, and a lousy scientist. :)

1 comment:

BrotherBemused said...

What came to mind as I read your observations of "my vessel is so small, and the ocean so large and unchafted" was what Rainer Rilke wrote in "Letters to a Young Poet:"

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves... Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."