Mind Over Matter


“Anything that can happen, will.” So states Murphy’s Law, which science labworkers recited for comfort as they survived spilled acid, Bunsen Burner scorches, and microscopic monsters in order to absorb biology, physics, and chemistry. First year biologists gingerly observed dissected earthworms, crayfish, and frogs, discovering the basic makeup of living things, both planet and animal. One semester devoted to botany, the other to zoology, second year biology classes delved with more detail into the way of all protoplasm. As Russian dreams became Russian realityies and space age grew nearer student physicists learned the elements of propulsion used to send missiles up through the atmosphere. New knowledge of atoms, energy and light, force and motion was theirs. In chemistry, ventilating fans drew up all traces, pleasant and unpleasant, of the students’ experimenting with hydrogen, oxygen, acids, and the extraction of oils from pineapples and bananas. They roamed their racks of test tubes, flasks, and retorts, conscious of the face that they were learning the elements on which one of the nation’s largest businesses, the chemical industry is based. It was an eventful; according to all reports, Murphy was right.