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Lauren 08-14-2009 09:20 PM

Need help with captivating description of a microscope (or other) and
its symbolism...? I'm trying to find a really captivating, abstract parallel between some sort of scientific (preferably that used in Biology or Chemistry) apparatus/machinery. Said mechanism needs to be described in a compelling manner and be an apparent symbol or metaphor for something us humans experience.

For instance, while this is completely undeveloped, a microscope could be metaphorically putting one’s life under scrutiny or paying attention to its close details.

I was considering using this as one of the hooks of my college admissions essay...this isn't for certain, though. Any help would be MUCH appreciated!! =]

bryan 08-14-2009 09:20 PM

I'm not sure i can help you in the metaphor department, but I can give you examples of procedures / tools we use.

PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Machines let you amplify the amount of genetic product you have. It makes ...more life?

LC (Liquid Chromatography) Machines are used to separate things. For instance I can separate the enzyme DPP IV from toxic venom in snakes using Affinity Chromatography.

Spectrophotometers let you qualitatively identify the amount of a chemical. Kinetic Spectrophotometers measure it over time to give you rates or reaction.

Gel Electrophoresis lets you identify the presence and weight of a lot of things, and you can use it in conjunction with different filter papers and immuno-janks to identify your chemical on a gel.

You mentioned microscopes, but that's pretty simplified. There are tons of different microscopes, and different stains, etc. There are Nomarski lenses which let you use light diffraction to analyse see through objects (like cells). There are confocal scopes which give you a 3d image. You can use GFP markers in conjunction with microscopes to find where your proteins are residing, or use a reporter gene with some type of flourescent molecule to figure out where genes are being made.

Hot water baths are generally used to speed reactions and ice baths are used to slow / stop them. Incubators are used for a lot of things too, like selecting for temperature specific mutations ...or just letting your specimens grow and reproduce.

GC-MS (Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometer) lets you get identities of chemicals within whatever based on weight (ultimately that's what happens at least).

Most all other devices generally use some combination of the above...unless you get into the ecological traps and what not...but i assume you don't want that.

I can't remember for the life of me a lot of the molecular genetic and immunology machinese though....hmm...

NMRs let you figure out specific elements in molecules.

Ok...i'm out for real now. There are a lot more, I just can't think.

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