Thursday, September 09, 2004

Day 2 of classes at The Institute

Day #2. Only one class today, Biological Engineering 420 -- Biomolecular Kinetics and Cellular Dynamics. The course description for this is:

Fundamental analysis of biological rate processes in terms of approaches based in chemical reaction kinetics. Topics include binding and hybridization interactions, enzyme reactions, metabolic cycles, gene regulation, receptor/ligand systems, intra- and inter- cellular signalling, and cell population dynamics.

What that means, in plain English, is:

- 20+ hours of homework a week
- writing a lot of code to solve differential equations in Matlab
- a problem set every week, due on Thursday. I've gotten used to the whole one-problem-set-a-week-starting-now bit, but the kicker about this one is that apparently it will usually be the case that you need the material that's covered in class on Tuesday in order to do the homework that's due 2 days later, on Thursday. I think that's sick and wrong -- it basically means that you should count on spending lots of time on Tuesday and Wednesday frantically trying to finish off the homework.

I've also started using the "office space" we've been assigned. It's in the basement and consists of two [windowless] rooms with a bunch of desks lined up against the bare white walls and some very, very old equipment [like a circa 1970's computer screen] randomly sitting around. Absolutely nothing else in those rooms. Very warm and cozy ... I'm starting to get a full appreciation of the "Adversity makes you stronger" philosophy that seems to permeate "The Institute", as it's apparently called by the cognoscenti [ie students & faculty].

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