I’m at a chemistry conference this week. This one has got me reminiscing. This is the first chemistry conference I have been invited to speak at. Professionally, that is a bit of milestone.
It just so happens this this particular milestone happening in this place at this time has some resonances.
This picture was taken just over twenty years ago – sometime in mid-November 1996. This is me with two of my third year chemistry buddies. This is minutes after we had walked out of our final chemistry exam. This is us celebrating the fact that none us would ever study for another chemistry exam again. We were all shaking the dust from our feet and moving on to other things.
This picture was also taken about a mile from where I am now sitting!
There is something deeply poignant for me about having this particular invitation in this place at this time.
Those who know my story know that it has been a series of leavings and returnings. Chemistry is appears to be my long suffering life partner. It allows me to walk purposely away, or to meander gently down an alternative path. But always welcomes me back. It is the part of my being I value less than I might, but it is always forgiving, and always willing to give me another chance.
I’m not sure I will ever fully grasp quite why I need chemistry, all I know is that I cannot seem to let it go. It is appears to be a strong part of who I am. And I am deeply grateful that have had such incredible opportunities.