For those of you who don’t know, today is International Lefthanders Day. Hooray! A celebration of chirality if there ever was one. I wonder: if we were made with D-amino acids instead of L, would left-handers be righties and vice versa? If we met aliens, would it blow our minds more if they looked just like us or if we figured out that they were just like us except made of D-amino acids? What if you found your alien doppelgänger and you measured your optical rotation and it was exactly opposite? Even worse, what if it wasn’t opposite?! Would it mean that one of you had some crystallographic impurities??
Enough of that silliness! Well, one more bit of silliness: I have been watching the Olympics, and the coverage of synchronized diving is very interesting. One unexpected thing I noticed is that, when the dive involves a turn (along the vertical axis, not a flip), it still counts as being synchronized if the two divers turn in opposite directions. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the commentators described this as chiral?
Ok, on to even less silly stuff: I am looking forward to the ACS meeting next week. We were talking in the office earlier this week about why people continue to go to such a huge overwhelming meeting when you could go to smaller meetings. However, the ACS meeting is always a great place to meet old friends or that famous professor you’ve been admiring. Plus, it always keeps me entertained with the huge diversity of topics – I can learn about everything from forgotten aspects of drug discovery to the most recent advances in proteomics, or even try to figure out the basis of left-handedness at sessions like this.
Anyway, I hope to see you there! If you don’t see me in some of these sessions, you can probably find me somewhere in Philly, trying to figure out how to use right-handed scissors.
Catherine (associate editor, Nature Chemical Biology)