09 September 2010

Something new under the sun[less sea]

Most of us live full, productive, valuable lives, contributing to the world but without fundamentally changing it.

I certainly see myself in that way. My involvement in research has discovered new things, but they were things which filled in small crevices entirely within what was already known, confirming rather than challenging existing structures ... they might be surprising, if I was very lucky they might prompt me or others to think differently, but they didn't upset anything or break new ground. I take photographs which I am satisfied earn their place in the world, and some which people buy, but I haven't taken the arts by the ears and taken it in a new direction or invented a new way of seeing. Same for my writing. I'm very happy with that as an epitaph: he kept the garden growing, he helped to keep it free of weeds, he left it a little tidier and perhaps just an imperceptibly tiny bit more colourful than he found it.

The same is true of most people I know. I know and have known some extraordinary people, who have done extraordinary things and made huge differences to others; but none of them altered the way the world is believed to be. Or, so I thought this time yesterday. Just after midnight, in a quiet and undramatic sort of way, that changed.

Kyle Reynolds is the first named author on a paper whose abstract I was sent last night. Having read the abstract, I had to go and fetch the whole thing and read it through: New Molluscan Larval Form: Brooding and Development in a Hydrothermal Vent Gastropod.

At this point, I should fess up: my claim to "know" Ms Reynolds is something of an exaggeration. In fact, the whole extent of our acquaintance is that we once exchanged elusive jazz CDs ... and by post, at that, not in person. No matter: the buzz is real.

If you have an interest in the biological sciences (you don't have to be a biologist; I'm certainly not), you will follow the link in my footnote below and realised how exciting it is. The illustration here, copied from the full article, shows the position (bp) of the brood pouch.

If not, then you may well have decided to stop reading by now ... I did try to develop an explanatory analogy, but it just sounded silly so I gave up; you'll just have to trust me: it is exciting, and will require that part of existing conventional zoological wisdom be revised. And have I mentioned that I once exchanged jazz CDs with the primary author?

  • Kyle C. Reynolds, et al., "New Molluscan Larval Form: Brooding and Development in a Hydrothermal Vent Gastropod, Ifremeria nautilei (Provannidae)" in Biological Bulletin, 2010(219): p. 7. Abstract available from: http://www.biolbull.org/cgi/content/abstract/219/1/7

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Whilst I'm not too sure my snail larvae will be making waves anytime soon, I *do* know that if you're looking for superb recommendations in quality jazz... Felix is your man.

Thank you - for both the adulation AND heightened musical taste.