Spicing up the syllabus

Tonight I’ve been tinkering with the syllabus for the molecular and cellular biology course next semester. To bring a little life and personality to the syllabus, many of my classmates in the preparing future faculty course in which I’m currently enrolled have included inspirational quotations. In an attempt to integrate this approach in my own syllabus, I came across the following quote from Francis Crick’s “What Mad Pursuit”:

“[…] Molecular biology is not a trivial aspect of biological systems. It is at the heart of the matter. Almost all aspects of life are engineered at the molecular level, and without understanding the molecules we can only have a very sketchy understanding of life itself.”

I’m still searching for something more, but for now this is an adequate placeholder.

I’ll take this as an opportunity to insert one of my favorite quotes. Lewis Thomas, in his “Lives of a Cell,” beautifully captures the awesomeness of self from a biologist’s perspective:

“Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you’d think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise. We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely outnumbered by all the alternates who might, except for luck, be in our places.”

What are your favorite biology-related quotes?

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