The title may seem daunting to most people thinking what on world do I know about chromosomes and is here to speak of. Gladly, I must appreciate your understanding of my brief (10^-100) knowledge about biology science of chromosomes.
It was Monday and with no extra strain to your brain, it was my office day. I was not feeling well for the past few days and hence decided to take rest instead of going to office and working in air conditioned facility thereby aggravating my bad health. I went out for my lunch and on my way back purchased news papers comprising of The Hindu, The Times of India and DNA (The motive was to do comparative study of available news papers so that I can form a decision about what to order to my vendor). Surprisingly, an ad at the 3rd page of The Hindu caught my attention where it showed a lady (no surprise, right!!) standing quite confidently. I became interested to read. I realized that the lady is a great scientist in the world of biology with great awards to her list.
I found myself in a dilemma because just few minutes back I decided to finish few topics in C++ programming language on account of free time I was having but this news made me think and I asked one question to myself, "How important is this seminar for you?". Back came the reply, " I can study C++ tomorrow but I cannot attend a seminar by someone so esteemed later in life. If I miss this opportunity I will not get the next one. Also its an opportunity to be in an academic setting for few hours which will rejuvenate my eagerness to learn". With this answer I executed my plan and left for the venue on my Mercedes (my beloved bicycle) at around 3:45 p.m. I reached the venue (IISc, Bangalore) at around 4:05 p.m. and was surprised to see that the J.N.Tata auditorium was getting packed with the progress of time. It was the after long time (the first being at IIT Techfest 2005) when I was seeing an auditorium packed with human beings for some science topic apart from normal multiplex audi's.
The program started at its prescribed time of 4:30 p.m. With a brief introduction about the speaker (which I liked) Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn took on the podium. One thing which I have observed in the scientific world that people are highly cordial and they speak soft unlike in management or industry setting where it is usually louder. Also the academicians are seen smiling and speaking with great inner peace which I have always adored. Maybe the reason could be the ecstasy they are always in as a result of the pursuit of knowledge.
She started her topic with a picture of an old Indian lady (I am sure she took someone Indian so that we can easily relate to her) and a curt question of "Why do aging occur?". With the progress of the presentation she elaborated on how our chromosomes plays and important part in aging process. The two important terms she was emphasizing about were telomere and telomerase. How shortening of chromosomes makes some one susceptible to diseases like heart attack, aging and other known diseases. It was though very interesting to know that smoking plays a big role in decreasing the life span of user as it impedes the chromosomes duplicating capacity. Also with her research she was able to proof that chronic stress (be it related to married life, Job or exam etc..) highly contributes to malfunctioning of chromosomes leading to early death or associated medical complications.
It was a new experience for me where I was getting exposed to a complete unknown branch of sceince and though I couldn't compete with someone with biology background, I think I was able to assimilate 20 % of the information while the rest got lost in some interim day dreaming and unknown terms.
Some of the interim thinking/day dreaming I was doing was (i) Can I be someday as good as her ? (ii) Is research my calling ? (iii) Will I be getting calls from universities for my MS? (iv) What if someone bomb the auditorium and lastly (v) There are some really good looking girls in the halls. Will I be meeting such beautiful ladies while I be pursuing my PhD and do I still stand a chance? :)