Procfreak recently noted that she and her molecular biologist significant other really have no earthly idea what one another does all day. As it turns out, my own significant other spent quite a bit of time doing molecular biology, herself; she worked in a research lab after college, did MCB education in high schools as part of a fellowship, and studied genetic diversity in invasive grass as part of her MS. In her molecular and cellular biology work she got to toy with all sorts of sexy and dangerous things, like the golgi apparatus and radioactive Plutonium-35. (We social scientists rarely get to tinker with radiation.) We were chatting with Procfreak and her SO one night, and you should have seen the spark alight in in his eyes when Heather said “electrophoresis.” Heather is working on revising and getting a piece of her thesis published, so she still occasionally lapses into molecu-speak, of which I’m quite tolerant, even affectionate. Aww, I love my hard scientist wife, though now that she’s focusing on ecology, I also love to tell people that she’s out standing in her field.
That just never gets old.
At any rate, Procfreak’s point about sciences that pass in the night is valuable, because when it comes to certain things, spouses and significant others just can’t make heads of tails of each other. For example, Heather simply cannot understand why Alien Versus Predator is poised to resolve so many late-night debates of my early adolescence. (Well, and late-night college debates sponsored by Henry Weinhardt, too. I can admit that.) I mean, Alien has acid for blood, but Predator has tools; you can see the complicated “primitive vs. modern” allegory, can’t you?
No, I suppose not. Neither can she.