High school chemistry was not my strong suit. A good friend and I spent most of the time trying to make each other laugh instead of paying attention to class experiments. My teacher once told me that my friend (who went on to get a chemical engineering degree) could get away with screwing around because he was “smart.” I, on the other hand, couldn’t because I was “just stupid.” I like to think he didn’t actually mean that.
Now that I’m older, write about science, and am a fan of open learning initiatives, I’ve decided to revisit the subject. I’ve started an online course known as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) offered through edX, a collaboration between MIT, Harvard and Berkeley. It’s called “Introduction to Biology: the Secret of Life.” This morning, over coffee, I delved into polarity and ionic bonds. Unlike high school, I have the opportunity to rewind the youtube videos when I don’t understand something. Also, my friend isn’t around to distract me. He is actually quite busy brewing beer for an international company, using his chemistry to further the fermentation process.
I’m now halfway through my weekly assignment and going strong. I’m going to wax this chemistry yet.