by syaffolee

A Certain Kind of Brain Power

I’m sitting in the back of the auditorium listening to a genetics lecture. Another TA sitting beside me is tapping away at her laptop. The other TAs are mysteriously absent. The rest of the seats around us are devoid of undergrads. The prof is meticulously explaining three-point crosses and my mind is going fuzzy at the edges. Needless to say, I’m not paying much attention until–

Student: So why did you figure that the “D” gene is in the middle and not, say, the “A” gene?

Prof: Pure logic.

The class erupts in laughter.

The prof was nice enough to explain the entire problem over again, but that got me thinking about logic problems. One thing I had always thought was cool about genetics was that the problems posed really are problems, that is, they usually require logic to solve. It’s not that I don’t think other areas of biology aren’t cool too, but other areas (immunology for one) require a heck of a lot more memorization than problem solving skills.

Maybe I’m just one big kooky geek, but I really like thinking about logic problems. Perhaps all the mental grinding required to solve one of those problems gives me the illusion that I’m actually learning something and becoming smarter. Memorization, well, what’s the use of that when twenty years down the road, you’ll have to look it up in the book anyway?