I Believe in Chemistry

Maureen - Prattville, Alabama
Entered on November 17, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: science
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I believe everything in the world is guided by chemistry. Our desire for chocolate, our attraction to certain flavors and fragrances, even our choices for a mate seem to be governed by chemicals “doing their thing” in a very specific manner. Yes, I know I am biased, as I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry/Biochemistry. When I read recently there was a biochemical basis for those chocolate cravings by some of us, it made sense. The fact that perfume companies utilize pheromone-like substances in their perfumes and colognes is not surprising. The recent report released that links nitrates in smoked meats and bacon to colon cancer, again, was chemical in nature. I am even married to a person who also has a Ph.D. in Chemistry. We have raised two children and have watched the chemicals in action in our children over the past eighteen years. When I was pregnant with our first child, Kelly, I suddenly craved those despicable canned Vienna sausages. My husband was so disgusted by the odor, I had to eat these on the veranda. Our daughter has had a special craving for ham products ever since her birth, and even attends a college in Virginia, where the smoked ham is the best, so she says. During my second pregnancy, I ate mandarin oranges all the time. Our second child, Loran, has craved mandarin oranges since he could eat solid foods. I wear a perfume called “Sunflowers.” As a chemistry professor who walks around the classroom when teaching, some of my students commented one day, you must have run out of your perfume. “We can no longer do as well on our examinations.” They pleaded, “Please tell us what the name of the fragrance is so we can get you some more!” The chemical experiments in pheromone and hormone research have uncovered chemicals that are transferred from one person to another (mostly unknowingly) to regulate menstrual cycles of women who live together (at home or in dormitories) or who sleep under the arm of their husband, to cause a new mother to want to cuddle her new child, or to cause a female to be repulsed by or attracted to a male. Endorphin research has shown increased levels of these and other chemicals when one meditates, exercises, falls in love, prays, and more. We are even born with receptors in our human brain for morphine-like chemicals. It seems that there is no activity in which we are engaged as humans that is not chemical in nature. We are simply a bag of chemicals. I am thankful that as humans, we are interested in discovering the role of these chemicals in nature and are clever enough to learn how to manipulate artificial chemicals and drugs for the benefit of humankind. I believe that many answers to our problems in nature and the world require an understanding and clever use of chemistry. This I believe.