Book Signing at Holly’s Last Stand

September 26, 2017

Anything But Simple Review and Giveaway

September 26, 2017

Dementia Prevention OR Why I Am Reading a Chemistry Book

September 26, 2017
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It’s called Exploring The World of Chemistry: From Ancient Metals to High Speed Computers, by John Hudson Tiner. It tells the story of chemistry’s development. And it’s written with the level of simplicity I need in order to (sorta) understand such complex subjects as alpha particles and spectroscopes and just why it is that inert elements have a valance of zero.

Like I ever cared before, right?

But my favorite seventy-year-old friend says that that she is on a quest to learn everything there is to learn before she dies. A senseless but stimulating goal, yes? “Dementia prevention,” is a phrase she taught me. Also the very sensible answer of “why not?” when I ask her WHY she wants to know something.

Maybe I had her in mind when I pulled a chemistry book off my mom’s bookstore shelf while I waited boredly (lovely adverb that) for some customers to finish their shopping and come to the counter to pay.

Or maybe I was thinking of what I call “connectors”: the miniature black air that connects one spider-fingered neuron in my brain to the next. (The official term for them is synapses, I found when I looked it up just now.) When I learn something new, I imagine a brand new intricate pathway being forged across the synapses of my brain. As a writer, the richer and more intricate these connections, the richer and more intricate my writing, and that is a reason to learn even more sensible than “why not?”

Chemistry, I thought, when I saw that chemistry book on the shelf, is near the top of my most-boring-subject list. It is also a subject I know almost nothing about. “Why not?” So, while I waited on Mom’s customers, I opened up the chemistry book and read.

I found myself instantly fascinated, by the very first story on the very first page. Did you know that meteorites were once considered a myth by scientists? They thought them just ignorant legends of falling stones. Did you know that while ancient peoples put the iron of the falling stones to good use in tools and knives, a much more civilized 18th century scientist said, “The fall of stones from the sky is physically impossible”? And that Thomas Jefferson said, “I find it easier to believe that a Yankee professor would lie than that stones would fall from heaven”?

I know those things, now. (Makes a person want to give a bit more credence to all those UFO stories, doesn’t it?) And all the interesting information I am gaining makes me want to try learning something outside my field of expertise more often.

I challenge you to try it, too. Just maybe that off-the-wall, completely-unlike-you subject will become your new favorite hobby; a tried and true recipe; valuable debate material; a life-saving, robber-chasing technique. Certainly it will aid in dementia prevention.

9 comments

  1. Love this post. I just got home from teaching a frustrating chemistry class at our Christian high school. To 16 year olds who couldn’t care less about stoichiometry. Thanks for the reminder that it might help me prevent dementia (I’m 68) even if they forget it all.

    1. I love your response and the fact that you are 68 and teaching chemistry to 16 year olds. Probably a dementia prevention and definitely admirable. They will remember some of it, anyway, and who knows what they will be doing 52 years from now? Using it, perhaps.

  2. It may not actually save any of us from dementia, but it is certainly a goal to be a life long learner. Good for you, Luci. What is next Quantum Physics?

  3. Thanks for this blog post……..yes, we are always learning if we have the desire 🙂 I like the phrase “Dementia prevention” 🙂 Keep learning and keep writing.

  4. I admire your experimenting with new topics, especially applicable to curious oldsters like me. Yesterday I was challenged to find catchy chapter titles by making art, tapping into that colorful right brain. Today I may try that.

    1. The thing I love about getting old is that your brain can STILL develop, even when your body is going the opposite way. I believe that as long as a person is still learning, they are young inside. I like the idea of art-inspired titles. Let me know how that goes for you.

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