When I was a kid, my father came home one day with a tank of liquid nitrogen. Strange? Not really – this is how my family rolls (full disclosure – my dad is a physics professor)! My little sister and I were told to investigate the properties of this mysterious liquid that was completely obscured by the spooky looking fog rising above it. We ended up tossing an innocent rubber lizard (lower on the toy priority scale than our Barbie dolls, stuffed animals or, of course, my toy dinosaurs) into the abyss and heard a loud SNAP! After eagerly reporting this finding back to my dad, he drained the liquid nitrogen to reveal the sad, cracked remains of our not-so-important lizard friend. It turns out that liquid nitrogen is extremely cold, a fact I’m reminded of every time I open my lab’s liquid nitrogen freezers and try not to lose feeling in my fingers.
Over the past few months, I’ve been taking a class in science pedagogy and it has reminded me of the moments in my life where I was doing science, often without realizing it. At its heart, loving science is just about being inquisitive and exploring – innate qualities we all possess. What is a favorite and/or memorable science learning experience that you’ve had? It can involve breaking something, creating something, hearing a great lecture or just staring out into space and having an epiphany. Tell us about it in the comments section or share with us via e-mail or Twitter and remember, it doesn’t have to be from a science class!