Thug life at 86

My dad, who survived a bout with cancer a few years ago, is getting bored with quantum mechanics. So he bought a microscope and is teaching himself microbiology. #thuglife.

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Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

3 thoughts on “Thug life at 86”

  1. More power to him! Back in the last years of the last century, as my father entered his 80s, I began to notice magazines like Scientific American, and Technology, appearing on his coffee table, alongside the lifelong favorites such as Foreign Affairs, the American Historical Assn. Journal, The New Yorker, etc., which he — a history Ph.D. with lifelong immersion in the "soft sciences" had always read. Why the sudden interest in technology and the hard sciences? Because he, as a student of history, could see that science & technology were changing the world in profound ways, and he needed to try to understand it. Never stop learning. Nice-looking microscope, by the way.

  2. Microscopes (meaning, polarized light microscopes and their cousins) are wonderful in that they still play an important role in hard core science, and are also usable by the general public as your father is doing. It helps to be scientifically literate, but even a little portable jobbie can be a wonderful window into the invisible world.

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