Week 6. Fulfilling equations



I was not a confident student. I yelled in my head as if driving a horse through a storm. I spent hours on the cheat sheet we were allowed for exams.

Only when I left science did I fulfill the equation.  I went to work in the U.S. Senate.  I didn’t know the politics, but I had a steel rod shooting through me.  No matter how technical, how industrial or chemical. I knew how to learn.

Also, in the Senate, for the first time, the equation was not androgynous.  Woman were women, full on: body glitter, cleavage, heels, long legs.  Not only did I have a voice, I could take up space. I became a beautiful scientist. -E.A.

Materials: Statistics exam equation sheet, colored pens, coffee.

When you write a chemical equation, you use an arrow where an equals sign would normally go. A chemical equation is a trajectory. It describes the reactants’ (often transformative) movement to product. It doesn’t fulfill, but it should balance.

Astronomers used to think the two galaxies NGC 450 and UGC 807 were on a collision course, that soon they’d merge. But it was a trick of gaze – that line of sight that inscribes a narrative, a “this must equal that.”

And Lent begins this week – my favorite time of the religious year. (Natalie = carbon: what a relief!) The trajectory toward Holy Week is a paradox: if you know how the story ends, you’re just drawing a fulfilling line, ignoring all that dark space.


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