BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Monday, January 15, 2007

Science Solitaire

Remember those boring science classes? Those dreaded exams on biology, physics and chemistry? I was one of those who never really enjoyed listening to science lectures. Although I've always had an insatiable thirst to find out how the world works, I never considered science classes as the way to quench that thirst.

But for several nights now, I've been swept away into the magical world of science. The teacher is no less than science writer Maria Isabel Garcia and it took her less than 300 pages to make me truly interested in how science works and just how amazing it affects the journey towards being truly human.

Science Solitaire (Ateneo Press' Book of the Month for January) is a very interesting collection of essays on how the mind works, on the science of love, on religion, on what happens to our bodies when we are truly happy, on the awesome powers of the universe and on everything else that affects our journey here and beyond.

It's a mind dance that gives a fresh insight on science, allowing us to unlearn and rediscover the truths and the mistruths about the universe.

And it's funny, too.

In Eternity for Dummies, for instance, I had a good laugh after reading the piece last night.

Garcia writes: "You may get rid of your wrinkles, your love handles, stretch marks, or age spots but your cells do not care. They will age anyway at the same rate, regardless of how one looks. And unless one is a fruit fly, yeast, a worm, a mouse or a rhesus monkey--gene-twitching experiments on which seem to hold promise as far as slowing the age process is concerned--nothing, I repeat, nothing has yet been found to work on humans."

I read this piece rolling in laughter. It might have been addressed to people like me. That night, just before I picked up the book, I had already filled my face with anti-aging cream.