Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bitter Much?

I'm TAing Nuclear Engineering this semester. I was kind of worried about it because I don't actually know all that much about nuclear physics or engineering. Well, it turns out that the undergrads know basically nothing about it, so I didn't have anything to worry about.

Right now we're in the section on dosing. I was reading through a textbook almost as old as me. My supervisor loaned it to me, noting that the name scrawled on the inside front cover is his supervisor's name.

The author felt it would be useful, in discussing the deleterious effects of ionizing radiation on the human body, to do a quick rundown of cellular biology. I came across this passage which I found quite comical:

The germ cells, which are also called gametes, function only in reproduction. It is the union of the gametes from different sexes that is the starting point of a new individual. The gametes also carry the hereditary material of the species that makes children look more like their parents than their neighbors[sic], and ensure that the evils of mankind pass with little change from generation to generation.
How's that for unbiased scientific writing? That passage was in a textbook! Well, John R. Lamarsh, I shall see that history remembers you as a great nuclear engineer and misanthrope.

And hey, maybe I just found a new role model.

2 comments:

moshen said...

i like textbooks that have that little zest.

also i like you as my ta.

Rob a.k.a. Dad said...

"ensure that the evils of mankind pass with little change from generation to generation"

Sounds like the author was speaking from experience, looking either up or down (or maybe both) his family tree...