Use your eyes like a camera while you learn. “Snap” the information and store it for later benefit. Review! Review! Review! Science is all encompassing and pervasive. I use all of my scientific disciplines all day long. Chemistry and biochemistry are at work as we separate blood into its components in a centrifuge. Microbiology is at work as we look at a slide holding body fluids or a urine culture. We must have a ready command of all of the scientific disciplines in medical practice. The sciences have continuity and overlap each other. Therefore, we will continually add more pieces to the puzzle.
Today, we will review chemistry as a sidebar, during our lengthy study of bones. We will actually have several sidebars during our survey of bones. When we move on to the survey of blood, you will have extensive knowledge of bones. (I like to call it a firm ‘osteo’ foundation, on which to build your medical career.) After all, without our bones, we would have no structure and collapse.
Repeat after me. “I can retain the information I need to become an excellent ___________________! I have the power within me to build a firm scientific foundation that will benefit all whom I serve. I love medical science and respect its importance as I travel through the process of achieving my ultimate goal. The recollection of this work becomes easier as I apply and devote myself to my studies. There is no shortcut or substitute for strong discipline and hard work.”
Data Collection and the Proper Way to Analyze It
Let’s begin with some metric charts. Write these out on 3X5 cards. Notice I did not say print my chart, alone. I want you to do some ‘old school’ learning, by using more of your senses. In 1960, the General Conference on Weights and Measures, adopted the International System of Units, or SI, after the French, Le Systeme International d’ Unites. The International Bureau of Weights and Standards in Sievres, France houses the official platinum standard measures, by which all other standards are compared.
The SI system has 7 base units from which other units are calculated. The first table gives the SI units based in chemistry.
MEASUREMENT UNIT SYMBOL
Mass (Not weight) kilogram kg
Length meter m
Temperature Kelvin K
Time second s
Pure substance amount mole mol
Electric current ampere A
Light brightness (wavelength) candela cd
Proper observation and measurements are imperative in all of the sciences. Research is all about measuring and reporting of the facts. In order to repeat someone’s experiment, the same units of measurement must be used. It just would not work if researchers in Istanbul, Turkey measured in millimeters, while researchers in New York, New York measured in cups. Therefore, we use a common system in science. In 1670, a French scientist named Gabriel Mouton suggested a decimal system of measurement, which was based on groups of ten. The word metric comes from the Greek word metron, which means a measure. In 1799 the french Academy of Sciences developed the metric system.
When Great Britain formally adopted the metric system in 1965, the United States became the only nation that did not require metric, though people had been using it since the mid-1800’s. Can you see how history and politics affect science and medicine? Free Americans celebrated independence from Great Britain (also known as England) in 1776, and today, America still has not formally adopted the most organized, and sensible system of measurement. Feet, inches, yards, teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, miles, yards, a pinch, a drop… Do you have a headache yet? I think that was third grade for me. I ran away from home because I received less than an A in math because of that so-called system of measurement. I sat behind a pile of firewood at my grandmother’s house, and watched my whole town look for me. My father saved me from what was to be a terrible punishment from my mother. What a horrible way to teach 8-year-olds to measure. If you made it through that maze of measurement as a child, you can learn the metric system now as an educated and mature adult. Somebody in the American government needs to pass a bill and adopt the metric system. That would be a worthy piece of legislation. Kids are failing in college having to un-do this antiquated way of measuring.
The advantage of the SI system is that it is based on a decimal system. With calculations written in groups of ten, results can be easily recorded as scientific notation. There are written prefixes that indicate exponential values as well.
EXPONENTIAL or SCIENTIFIC NOTATION is a way of writing numbers as powers of ten. Scientific notation helps determine the scale of measurements.
PREFIX SYMBOL VALUE
Tera T 1012
Giga G 109
Mega M 106
Kilo k 103
Deca da 101
Deci d 10-1
Centi c 10-2
Milli m 10-3
Micro u (Greek letter mu) 10-6
Nano n 10-9
Pico p 10-12
Everyday hints: A nano is a very small unit. The iPod Nano is only 2 inches big. A 2 Gigabyte version holds approximately 500 songs, while the 4 Gigabyte version holds approximately 1000. In comparison, a larger iPod with 30 Gigabytes can hold up to 7500 songs. We can ‘think’ our way out of many situations by knowing the prefixes! Gigs are BIG and nanos are small. Do well with this information. Have a great day!