Sunday, January 31, 2010

NADH and me

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

About two years ago when I took Bio I, I first heard of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and it sounded so specific, detailed, difficult, and entirely beyond my comprehension.

Now, however, as I'm revisiting glycolysis in-depth for an exam, it's not any big deal to me at all. The new car smell is long gone, if you will. At this stage in the game, if handed pen and paper and asked to produce a Kekulé structure of it, I could probably whip it out in a matter of seconds (well, maybe a minute or so).

Just a few moments ago, I realised how amazing that is and just how far I've come.

One thing that I wish I could change about the science curriculum in university is that Bio I & II would have to come after completing your chemistry sequences. Actually, Bio II didn't have much at all in the way of anything related to chemistry, if I remember correctly. I remember a lot of memorisation of family, genus, species for all sorts of things... At any rate, Bio I was full of stuff that required some background in chemistry. Maybe most high school students get that these days, but I didn't. I would've, but my family moved and the school I attended for my last years of high school was well behind where I'd come from. Knowing about reaction rates, balancing chemical equations, equilibrium, stereochemistry, chirality, etc., would've given me a much, much deeper understanding of the things I was frantically trying to study...the Krebs cycle, for instance, was almost completely meaningless. I knew the overall picture and what resulted, but the why and how of it were as mysterious as the sky is blue. I can't fathom how I managed an A in that class. I stared at my biology book in amazement and wonder for hours on end, trying to sort out the drawings of chemical compounds and such. I couldn't wait to get to the point when I could look at those and gather all sorts of info.

That day has come and passed, and I see molecular model kits and SN2 reactions in my dreams.

I get such a kick out of this, and I'm really looking forward to comparing my knowledge after taking biochem and my molecular bio sequence! I'm really in awe about the whole thing. Words escape me, and all I can do is grin excitedly and place exclamation points at the end of as many sentences as possible.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris


  1. I agree and think O-chem is the place to start.

    It's like Do Re Mi. It's the building blocks.

    "Start at the's a very good place to start..."

    I did (some) inorganic, bombed it, did ochem, aced it, REDID inorganic, aced it. For many similar aha! moments...

  2. Your quote reminded me of that Mitch Hedberg bit, something like, "I heard this advertisement saying that [some boxing match] was 'going to be a fight to the finish.' Yeah, that's a good place to stop."

    Wow, I couldn't imagine trying inorganic without first having completed organic. Did you major in chemistry, or..?