Bite-size Science

My Latest Pet Project

Bite-size science: explaining biological theories, definitions and concepts in bite-size easy to understand form, accompanied by simple childlike diagrams.

Why?

I love it when something is explained in very simple and basic terms that I actually understand. It was Albert Einstein that said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. I agree.

Even though I am a biologist, I admit that I sometimes struggle in explaining certain biological things ‘simply’ or explaining them at all. Most of the time, I’m just ‘faking’ it, or I understand it, but I can’t really explain it. And other times I feel intimidated by things I read in science papers, and I glaze over and think uh I’m really thick, I just don’t get it. Sometimes all I see is a bunch of posh, over complicated words, and all I’m thinking is – what does that mean?

I think science should be more accessible, for non-scientists and scientists from different fields.

I was inspired by a few books to venture into this little pet project:

1. The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley. His explanation about the science behind what happens when you fast – is so easy to understand, that it makes me feel passionate about biology and want to devour everything there is about this fascinating subject.

2. Inspired by the diagrams in the book: How To Be Interesting, by Jessica Hagy, I love her “deceptively simple diagrams and graphs”. And her diagrams reminded me how I would study for biology exams: I would frequently make diagrams, so I could understand and remember things.

3. Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon. This book inspired me to steal the idea from the book mentioned in point 2.

4. The ART of Non-Conformity. Set Your Own rules. Live the Life You Want. And Change the World, by Chris Guillebeau.

5. Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar, by James Bach.

6. The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, by Gretchen Rubin

I tested out my drawing skills today: yep very simplistic and childlike – just what I was going for. (I have poor drawing skills, so I’m going to pretend that I’m making the drawings childlike on purpose).

Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1
Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1

 

*IGF-1 has growth-promoting effects on almost every cell in your body. It keeps your cells constantly active. You need adequate levels of IGF-1 and other growth factors when you are young and growing, but high levels later in life appear to lead to accelerated ageing and cancer. 

“Fasting makes your body reduce the amount of IGF-1 it produces”.  (*Quote taken from The Fast diet by M. Mosley). 

Doing this pet project, is also a great way of motivating me to study and remember things and gives me a purpose for all the copious notes I love to make – that serve no purpose, other than the fact I love making verbatim notes. I don’t know why. I just like collecting quotes, ideas, thoughts, facts, theories, maybe for those times when I need to recall something – I have them at hand to quote from.