It’s hard (maybe almost impossible) to devote time to this blog anymore, but I miss it.
This week I’ve had a world-collapsing-on-itself experience of strangely-timed coincidences:
- Reading a chapter out of The War of the Soups and the Sparks: The Discovery of Neurotransmitters and the Dispute Over How Nerves Communicate, I heard about this piece of scientific equipment called a glass cannula, which is basically a teeny tiny glass tube that can be used to put miniscule amounts of neurotransmitters in contact with neurons, increasing or decreasing their activation. This is pretty far from anything I will ever do, but it was pretty interesting to read about how neurotransmitters (the relatively few we know about) were discovered.
- For the same class, I also read about Freud’s early research in this book: Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Cognitive Psychology… First he was a neurologist, and then, because he kept getting patients he couldn’t figure out, he started to study hypnosis. Hypnosis had been influenced by some of the practices surrounding animal magnetism — the idea that living things contained a magnetic charge that could be manipulated in healing ways… This guy, Mesmer, was the magnet man:
- After class and a power nap at school, I went to the symphony (National Symphony Orchestra — hurrah!) with a friend who regularly scores comp tickets at the Kennedy Center because once she crossed the street to pet the right person’s cute puppy (seriously). The featured guest was Jörg Widmann, a composer and clarinetist. The first piece we heard was composed by him and featured the glass armonica (AKA glass harmonica). WTF is that? Awesome, is what it is:
- Also, check out more Widmann. He was pretty incredible.
- The “glass” in glass armonica reminded me of the tiny glass pipettes, and I had this sort of reverie of neurons and hypnosis and mysterious labs, forests, and fog. Here’s the music
- Incidentally, Benjamin Franklin invented the glass harmonica.
- Incidentally, Benjamin Franklin was treated by Mesmer.
- Incidentally, Mesmer used the glass armonica (or something like it) in his treatments.
- Mozart was a Mesmer fan.
- Widmann played Mozart.
And with that I’m going to get some much-needed sleep.