Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Yikes! An “Ask a ScienceBlogger” question already? Well, had I been a SciBlog some weeks ago, I would have quickly answered in response to the question (paraphrasing here), “Which modern technology should not have been invented?” My answer: pantyhose. They are the garments of pure unadulterated torture. Oh, wait, now what is today’s question? Here we go:

“Assuming that time and money were not obstacles, what area of scientific research, outside of your own discipline, would you most like to explore? Why?

In an alternate universe with stretched time and dollars, I would be a botanist specializing in phycology. In fact, this was a near miss since one of my very favorite classes as an undergrad was phycology. Somewhere along the way, I became molecularly diverted and took the fork in the road toward biochemistry and organic chemistry.

I loved the study of algal systematics, culturing cells, cytoplasmic streaming, and best of all, tromping around in the field in search of the mighty Volvox. Algae are not just about slime on rocks and green goo in ponds. Under the microscope, they are things of beauty. I even spent a summer at the Marine Biology Labs at Woods Hole studying marine algae.

For a time, I imagined myself as a tweedy professor pottering about in places like this or this. OK, maybe phycological research isn’t actually performed in those buildings but based on looks, it should be.

I don’t know that I could have made the scientific impact that I have with my current discipline, but dang! Phycology sure would be fun!


  1. #1 Kevin Beck
    June 10, 2006

    For me this one’s pretty easy — space exploration and research. This is a choice based not only on longstanding (though mostly childhood) interest but on the fact that time and money are easily the two greatest impediments to studying and even colonizing other planets. Virtually every useful idea aeronautical engineers and dreamers can come up with today is simply impractical.

  2. #2 Jess
    December 30, 2007

    i was wondering if there were any websites that i would be able to find a scientific lab journal for my biology project. i am in desperate need of one! please write asap! thank you! jess

  3. #3 Doc Bushwell
    December 31, 2007


    One of our readers asked about this as well in the article that I wrote about lab notebooks”. The BookFactory has a good selection of lab notebooks. Good luck with your project!

    Doc Bushwell

  4. #4 Kayla stevenson
    April 20, 2009

    Algae is so weird it is so slimy and i actually ate some when my cousin dared me to swim in a part of a algae pond that was so gross. i was jumping in and some water with gross green blue algae that went in my mouth……….GRoSs

    KAyla Stevenson

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