I’m sitting at the edge of the auditorium at the Sigma Xi Center, comfortably sandwiched between Scicurious and Christina Pikas. I’m listening to Rebecca Skloot describe how a creative writing class assignment to write about a place and her response about the freezer in the Colorado State University Veterinary School morgue launched her on a career in science writing. Now, she’s introducing the main topic of her talk (as well as the topic of her new book) “The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks” And we’re getting to hear world-premiere excerpts from the book to be published next year.
Skloot’s talk is sponsored by the Duke chapter of WISE, who also hosted a fabulous wine and desert reception with lots of great conversation amongst almost 200 women. For me, the highlight of the reception was the trading cards featuring women science bloggers, including our own Alice Pawley. (I’ll try to post a picture later to show you how famous Alice is.)
Before the WISE reception, Abel hosted a wonderful Friday Fermentable session. We tasted four wines courtesy of the Wine Authorities – two whites (a California Chardonnay and a French Burgundy) and two reds (a California Pinot Noir and a Oregon Pinot Noir). I learned what a wine having legs means thanks to SciCurious, and then Propter Doc ruined the Burgundy by telling me that it smelled like burnt rubber. (And after that, of course it did.) For me, the best wine was the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Lemelson Vineyards, because the taste reminded me of the soils and greenery of Oregon, and suddenly I was intensely homesick for Utopia. Fortunately, the wine also lubricated a wonderful conversation with Propter Doc and Chris Rowan.
All of this is to say, that at 7:30 when Minnow and Fish phoned before Minnow’s bedtime, I felt more than a little guilty when I said “Mommy working.” But the ScienceOnline conference proper starts tomorrow, and Propter Doc and I still have to iron out the final details of our Transitions session. So there will be work yet this evening. But for now there’s an absolutely fascinating talk being given and delicious brownie calling my name.