Friday, July 4, 2014

A Road Trip to Darwin's Playground

A new Affiliate Member of the family is one smart cookie.  We recently went down to be there for her PhD defense.  Just to show support you know.  I would not actually leap up and punch any members of the examining committee for asking mean questions.  My wife might have but none were forthcoming.

On the drive down we saw this interesting vehicle pulled into a gas station.

We made sure to leave before they did.  It is not a trailer you would want to be following at highway speeds, just in case the back door jolted open.

The Defense was held in the building where she has had her office for the last couple of years.

It is pretty impressive....most of the areas require a key card to enter, and on the top floor is some kind of biology research unit for NASA.  Maybe that helps explain the interesting statue collection out front:

The collection is titled "Darwin's Playground" and is the work of a Chicago artist called Tony Tasset.  They seem to have originally been called "The Blobs" which does do them justice.  They require occasional scrubbing and have needed some holes drilled to drain off water, otherwise they accumulate various molds and algae that are a little too concrete a representation of Life.

One grad student claimed that they were inspired by the shape of ribosomes.  I think it more likely that they are just weird creations designed to frighten new undergrad researchers into cleaning their Petrie dishes diligently.  "You know, the last time the lab got that grubby things got a little out of hand...."

A whimsical side light to a day filled with proud accomplishment.  I am now demoted to being maybe the 5th or 6th smartest person in the family and that is excluding Bruce the Dog on the technicality of his not being an actual person.

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