Thursday, March 24, 2011

The True Magic is Inside Us

Have you ever stared at the starred sky and fell like a small dot in a large universe? A mere speck in the cycle of life?

Most of us have, at one point, felt the strange aloofness that comes with the realisation we're just one human being in a big scheme, and that all perspective kept, we're not so important after all. There's something special to the knowledge that there are billions of other planets out there and that we'll never really know what they're made of or if there's anything living on them. The stars and the universe are, without a doubt, a source of human wonder.

To me, however, the real magic is far closer.

It's in ourselves. In every of our cells. In the million of different proteins. In the amazing diversity you can achieve with 30,000 genes.

Just as the universe's real size is beyond our comprehension, so is the human body's complexity.

Studying biochemistry has taught me that nature's ingeniosity knows no bound. Every little process is regulated with chirurgical precision. Every millisecond, hundreds of thousands of chemical chain reactions happen. And as you read this, hundreds of small electrical currents run along you neurons, at a precise voltage to keep the signal at the right level, and each of them carries information for your brain or orders for your muscles.

Human physiology is a delicate but masterful balance. Our life depends on it and yet, everything happens without us noticing.

Every time I stop to consider the hidden beauty of our body, my mind is blown. It is, to my sense, real-life magic.

For some spacy mind-blowing, you can listen to Hank Green:

EDIT: Somehow xkcd managed to post something related to this on the following day. Check it out, it's hilarious.


  1. I love biochem for this reason.

  2. This was such a beautiful post! I'm not a biochemist, but I know how you feel about "real" magic and the wonders of human life and our universe.

    Lovely :) Really inspiring stuff!

  3. Okay, I want to be invited to the Green brothers house for dinner one night and just sit and listen to them talk.

    This is so goofy, but your post combined with that video reminded me of this really old, weird movie I saw once about these people who you think are on a space voyage but at the end it turns out they were actually traveling through some guy's body. Must have shrunk themselves with a ray gun or something. lol.

  4. L.G. : I'd love to do that! They're so awesome. <3 Your movie reminds me of a TV show when I was a kid. Kids could get in a magical bus that brought them about anywhere, and my favourite episode was the one about the digestive system.

    Miss Cole: Thanks! I'm so glad I can convey at least some of my fascination for the human body.

    And Raquelin? Biochemist for the win. ^^

  5. Thank you for being a scientist. We need more of you people around.