An Old Man Furthers His Education

[caption id="attachment_28934" align="alignright" width="400"] Vincent Summers[/caption]As a child, I enjoyed science. I decided I'd like to be an astronomer. My mother, always the practical one, told me "You can't make a living at astronomy; choose something else." I chose chemistry. Mom had a friend whose husband worked for Union Carbide. He made lots of money. It's true he was not a chemist, yet Mom approved. So for my 8th grade career report for Mrs. Best, I wrote of my desire to be a chemist. Education: High School Days Very soon after I entered high school, I met a fellow who moved from Canada, named Charles. He was a year or so older than I. He had his own basement laboratory. It was pretty decent. We lived near each other, so…
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I “Discover” The Chestnut Weevil Maggot

Biology, Nature
Sitting at my computer desk one day, I spotted a small maggot crawling along. Now a couple of hours earlier, I had a couple of apples sitting there, so I wondered if they were the source of the maggot that came from those, possibly a fly maggot. No, they were not. Now in the fall, which this is, I gather seeds from various plants, to dry them and put them away for next year. Among these are sunflower, hot pepper, and zinnia seeds. I know no maggot in its "right mind" would make its home in a Serrano pepper. And I hadn't gathered the zinnia seeds yet. Then again, there was no evidence of maggots in the thousands of sunflower seeds. Source of the Maggot What was left? Well, I…
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What Is Asparagusic Acid? Its Metabolites? A Funny Story

Chemistry, People
Many enjoy hot asparagus, whether as a cream soup, or a simple steamed, sautéed, or even raw vegetable. Since I am a chemist, I find it of interest from that perspective as well. Yes, I realize the reader almost certainly has already deduced asparagusic acid is named for this grass-related vegetable. Background But let me give a little background before I get into asparagus and asparagusic acid, and why I write concerning them. When I was the age for it, I attended Drexel Institute of Technology1 in Philadelphia, PA. Drexel offered the benefit of a cooperative work assignment each year to provide job-related experience plus a small income to help cover the cost of college. My first assignment provided an additional perquisite: a government car for transportation to Trenton, NJ.…
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