Monday, April 12, 2010

College Field Trip: UNM

 A beautiful New Mexico Day at UNM

Going back to college was easy last week.  I went to UNM to see a presentation in the Biology Department by my future daughter-in-law.  She had prepared a presentation of fruit fly research they were doing in her lab.  She's a beautiful and brilliant "creature" (as my son fondly calls her).  Frankly, I understood little of what she said.  I tried to follow her poster (below), but knew little of the terms she framed it in.  I was proud, none the less of her hard work and determination.

Last weekend while I was frolicking in Durango Colorado, she was presenting in Washington DC at an annual Drosophila Melanoganster conference.  In layman's terms...a Fruit Fly conference.  I didn't realize that for over 100 years scientists from all over the world have been having this conference. Her lab is studying muscle involvement and genetics (I think I have it right), that will hopefully help, some day,  people with Parkinson's Disease and other similar diseases. 

Fruit Fly Genetics
is sort of Scientific Porn! 

Afterward I went to see my "nephew by marriage" as I fondly call him, Darrell.  I passed this sign on my way...the Potters are everywhere, I tell you! An entire wing in the Potter name.
 Who knew?  See, everyone loves those Potters!
Darrell is an employee at UNM Art Department, and teaches a "Metals 1" course.  I entered a land I knew something about.  I was really impressed by the size of some of the machines.  When entering the wood shop I came across a sign that I feel should be made into t-shirts.

Beautifully Macabre!
Darrell in a student installation in the hall.

Darrell introduced me to Chris, one of his art colleagues who also teaches art and "shop safety" at UNM.  When I went to school there were no "safety" classes.  We weren't the litigious society we have become now.  Professors just said wear goggles when using power tools and don't put your fingers near the blades.  That was my safety class...I have all 10 fingers I am typing with.  These days we are a helmet wearing, knee pad wearing people.  I am still not convinced we are better off with all these precautions.  But no one asked me, did they?

Below are Darrell's students final projects in Metals 1.  I think the assignment was brilliant, and I was impressed with these tiny Henry Mooreish silver and copper pieces.   Each is a masterpiece in it's own right.  They were photographed with my iPhone through glass... but you get the idea.

Of course I had to be ridiculously silly and asked Darrell to take a photo of my putting my head in the giant band saw.  Chris was there, and I asked him permission to do this.  He asked me to wait a minute while he turned off all power to that part of the shop.  The antlers on my head are actually "pushers" to guide pieces through the saw instead of using your fingers. 
Look at the size of this saw...and the blade!  

That was my UNM field trip.  Chris shook his head as Darrell snapped the photo.  He said: "I see you two have a similar sense of humor."  Mmmmhhhmmmm.  

Thanks for reading.  I'm still amazed that you do.  


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