93/03/24 4:15 am- The sun was yet to appear.

The procedure wasn't anywhere close to the leading edge. The people in the lab were not the stereotypical scientists we imagined in the 'fifties and 'sixties; the guys in white lab coats who carried carrying notebooks and were so 'official'.

These were kids, between 23 and 28 years of age. They were playing.

At the same time, they were learning to become the next frontrunners in the biological sciences.

I was visiting in a University of Toronto laboratory, watching post grads Jim, Austin and Elizabeth extract chromosomal material from a sample of Austin’s blood. The exercise was part of a study to find a particular gene responsible for a particular condition.

I saw the extracted chromosomes through a binocular microscope, and it was like looking into the distance, to the stars, but these stars were in a microscopic universe of wonder, the stuff of life.

When I talked to Jim, I heard (at the time) that the chromosomes and their constituent DNA molecules were really still relatively unknown as the galaxies of outer space; no one really knew what it was all about.

But these young scientists were, in the dawning of that early morning, pushing the edges of knowledge into the unknown, and that the unknown was slowly releasing itself into our world.

I also came to realize that the chromosomes that I saw were from Austin, and that they were from the white cells of his blood, and that I was seeing what Austin really was; chains and clusters of molecules, integrated into a being who was chipping away at the edge of ignorance.

The curiosity of the human mind that drives one to understand the universe exists in our very DNA, at the microscopic, and sub atomic levels.

At my level, it's wonderment that there's an atomic basis for thought. Consciousness is physical. And that in itself, is an amazement.

Lark

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