The Biochemist Blog

The life of a Scientist…lessons learnt from The Big Bang Theory

By Priya Hari, University of Edinburgh

It’s season 11 of The Big Bang Theory – the well-loved comedy showcasing a group of stereotypical nerds (or as I like to think, scientists who are normal people like me and you). The show, based on the social lives physicists, engineers and biologists, is usually a comedic affair, but episode 2 of season 11 went a little beyond that. It highlighted a number of matters that certainly can be related to by a scientist of any discipline.

Why bacteria are smarter than we think they are

By Megan De Ste Croix, University of Leicester

Just like humans bacteria can catch a virus, however, when you’re just a single cell catching a virus can be pretty fatal. Because of this, bacteria have developed some effective systems to protect themselves. These systems, known as restriction-modification (RM) systems, come in a variety of shapes and sizes but it has always been thought their primary function is a defensive one against invading viruses and other invading DNA.

Youyou Tu and the discovery of artemisinin

By Isabel Vincent, University of Glasgow

Female scientists often struggle disproportionately compared to their male counterparts, but every now and then a woman will manage to break through the misogyny and show the world the potential that is often missed. Youyou Tu received the Nobel prize for medicine/physiology in 2015 for the discovery of the anti-malarial drug artemisinin – a remarkable achievement for a woman with no medical degree, no doctorate and no overseas experience.

My hidden disability and how I owned it

By Brittany Dodson, Penn State University, USA

My world is quiet. I don’t hear thunder until it’s right on top of me, and sometimes I can’t hear a person talking to me. When I pick up the phone, the person on the other end sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher from the Peanuts cartoons. I’ve had this hearing loss all my life. It wasn’t until graduate school that I realized I avoided situations, because I wouldn’t be able to hear well. And it started to affect my professional life as a scientist.