I’ve been taking an online biology class over the last few weeks. Well, “taking” might be a strong word. I’m not reading a textbook or doing problem sets or labs, I’m just listening to the lectures. Still, I’m really enjoying it, and with any luck, I might even learn a thing or two.
I never paid much attention to bio in school. I took the “dumb” (not AP) class in high school, and nothing in college. Since then, though, I’ve thought a fair amount about health, which eventually inspired some interest in medicine and human biology. I also have friends who follow and work(ed) in biotech, and that field is only getting more interesting as time passes.
Fundamentals are key, though, so I’m starting at the bottom. I remember some of the basics from high school. Cell membrane, nucleus, mitochondria, golgi body. Lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, oh my. Most of it is new to me, though, and really interesting. Channel proteins, extracellular matrix, cytoskeleton, microtubules. The systems nature evolved for us can be amazingly clever and sophisticated.
I also have to give credit to Berkeley, OpenCourseWare, and the progressive attitude across higher education. Their curriculum and professors are some of their most valuable assets, and yet they give them away freely to random people like me. Go college!