Thursday, September 23, 2004

Bait and switch

After 2 weeks of my grad biochemistry course, I've decided that I'm going to drop it and pick up another course. It's not because of the workload -- that's actually been much less painful than I feared and I've been doing ok on the assignments. It's because I'm missing the big picture -- since I never took an undergraduate biochemistry course which would tell me "what we know" [ie what the major biochemical reactions and mechanisms are], it's a bit hard to get very much out of a course that tells me "how we know what we know" [ie that tells me how to design experiments to figure this stuff out]. It's kind of like learning how to build or repair a car engine without really knowing what its for, or how to drive.

The sticky bit is that I have to pick up another course two weeks into the semester. Thankfully, I've found one that I think I can make up without too much trouble because it's a quantitative course [ie there isn't a whole lot of reading I've missed] and the first homework in the course was assigned yesterday and is due in about 2 weeks [which, btw, is pretty much unheard-of around here -- most courses pile on the homework right from the get-go]. The course is called "Systems Biology" [7.81] and is also about building computational models of biological systems. What I like about it is that it covers a lot of different systems and scales ie it's a bit of a survey course, which is always useful when starting out in a field.


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