Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lab Madness Bracket Challenge

My inbox tend to get inundated with white papers and other updates from the pharma industry.  I usually just browse and delete these, but on this particular Tuesday morning one thing caught my interest - Roche's email: Play the Scientist Bracket Challenge. It piqued my curiosity enough to open it. C'mon! March Madness with a science twist?? Brilliant!
The email headline reads:
Ivan Pavlov is already salivating at the thought...
The 2014 Scientist Lab Madness Tournament Challenge puts 64 of the world's best scientists against each to see who is the ultimate champion...
Other catchy teasers include:
  • Will Freud's Super-ego get the best of him?
  • Will Boyle past the test?
  • Will Schrödinger win, lose or both?
Needless to say, I was hooked! Bring it on. Imagine me rubbing my hands together and squealing in delight. So, below you will find my bracket and the reasoning for my picks, but if you want to fill yours, here's the link: Lab Madness Bracket Challenge. I have to say, I spent more time thinking about this bracket than my NCAA March Madness bracket.  No wonder I'm losing miserably in that one.

Click to view larger version
The Final Four:
Southern Blot
My Southern bracket was perhaps the easiest to pick. While most will go with #1 seed Albert Einstein, I chose Jonas Salk to win over Einstein on the Sweet 16 round, and move to the Final 4. Thanks to Salk's successful vaccine, polio is almost completely eradicated. You will also see that I chose David Baltimore to upset James Watson for no other reason than I am not a fan of Watson. Shocked that I chose Ptolemy over Aristotle? Let's just say that Ptolemy is more well-rounded with his interest in astrology and music! Plus, we know what happened with Aristotle's geocentric theory.
Northern Blot
This was a hard bracket.  I was so rooting for Marie Curie to at least make it to the Elite 8.  Alas, it was not meant to be.  I advanced Hubble because there's just something sweet about pitting Hubble vs. Kepler. Don't you agree? While other may struggle in choosing between Neils Bohr and Otto Hahn, this was an easy one for me. Hahn, in addition to being the father of nuclear chemistry, is just an overall peacemaker, and an ardent anti-nazi. However, moving Louis Pasteur over Otto Hahn to the round of 8 is a no brainer. More on Galileo's impressive win over Pasteur and taking the championship crown later.
Western Blot
My explanation for Copernicus winning over Mendel:  The sun is the center of the universe. Plus, the Mendelian trait cannot explain my 2 daughters' blue eyes.
Charles Darwin over Linus Pauling then Copernicus was more difficult to pick. My rationale - To this day, Darwin, in his grave, is still fighting and trying to convince people that the Theory of Evolution is not a 'mere' theory. Still, this was another tough bracket. And for that, Darwin automatically advances to the Championship, beating Newton's easy-peasy Mid-Western bracket.
Mid-Western Blot
How fun was it to pit Tesla vs. Edison and have Tesla win?  Lots. Still, it is Newton who makes it to my Final 4. Why? Sure, Gravity Theory. Although the cartoonish vision you have of an apple falling on Newton's head and leading to his Eureka! moment is a myth. Whether he's really a vendictive fellow or a misunderstood one remains as much of a mystery as where the myth came from.
Galileo wins it all.
Ah, Galileo.  I have always had a sweet spot for Galileo. His fascination with the milky way and its astral bodies is similar to mine... except he invented the telescope.  Unlike Newton who has been widely lauded in his lifetime, Galileo loved science and was punished for it. Supporting Cupernicus in championing heliocentrism, his books were banned and he was charged of heresy by the church. He died suffering and alone. Well, in my Lab Madness bracket, he wins it all. 
Who's your Champion?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Science at a glance - March 2014

It looks like a lot of interesting things are quickly happening in the world of science, while I struggle to find the closest drycleaner to our new house. So, I'm introducing "Science at a glance" to keep up with the latest and most exciting events in science... at least to me. That's the great thing about blogs - curation, right?
Lastly, for all my scientists friends and readers, here's an interesting article from Science Careers that tells you why you should stay connected online and offline: A Scientists's Guide to Social Media.