Belinda's Take Ten
A team member in our Institutional Sales Department, Belinda is a repeat staffer who worked at QRB more than a dozen years ago. (She keeps turning up like a bad penny, she says.) She enjoys taking pictures with her Nikon camera, petting her family's rescue rat terriers Blue and Gypsy, and taking tea every day. She loves to immerse herself in southern fiction and considers To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee to be the best book ever written! She claims she was absent on the day science and math genes were handed out, but a compulsion to learn and her familial proximity to several engineers pushed her to the science section of the store for her favorites.
When Breath Becomes Air is the memoir of a neurosurgeon diagnosed with terminal cancer during his residency training. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Kalanithi for his eloquence in relating the technical aspects of his circumstances while marveling at life’s remarkableness and for leading me to more fully feel life’s wonders.
Through Lab Girl), I recaptured my childhood delight when the zinnia seeds I planted blossomed brilliantly in my parents’ back yard. Dr. Jahren’s story of her devotion to and struggles in studying everything green leaves me in awe of these impossibly persistent living marvels and their vital roles in our lives.
The Glass Universe had me dumbfounded at the extraordinary devotion of the women who helped chart the stars for the Harvard College Observatory. The author spotlights these unheralded heroines and deftly champions their contributions to subsequent discoveries and revelations.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics gave me the priceless gift of newfound understanding and left me giddy. This book helped me grasp basic concepts of physics that heretofore eluded me: Einstein’s general theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, thermal science, and much more.
Obsessive Genius brilliantly pierces the skewed portrait of two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie. I felt in awe of the woman behind the myth—a fiercely dedicated scientist and combatant of prejudices, personal challenges, and world intrusions whose research begat discoveries and insights into our world.
Polio took me back to the time of terror when the fear of polio relentlessly stalked the nation. Through the author’s skill and use of primary source letters, lab notes and interviews, I was brought to tears from the desperation, wrenching regrets, and ultimate success of those who combated this dreaded disease.
The River of Consciousness is a collection of essays that superbly captures the author’s fascination with discovery, the human mind, and our connection to others in the world. His profundity led me to recognize the contributions of past thinkers, our reliance on other species, and our innate human foibles.
The Genius of Birds compelled me to view the birds at my backyard feeder with newfound respect and astonishment. Armed with revolutionary research, the author ascribes an extraordinary range of skills, abilities and remarkable intelligence to these avian beings that had me cheering my feathered friends and those devoted to learning about and understanding them.
Storm in a Teacup deftly bridged my gap of understanding between the ordinary and the mysteries of the universe. The author’s explanations and examples are so wonderfully relatable that I now see the unremarkable items in my daily routine as anything but.
The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge compelled me to shout “YES!” and fist pump the fundamental truth of these two essays written more than 75 years apart: that discovery is inexorably linked to unfettered curiosity, or in Flexner’s words, the “unobstructed pursuit of useless knowledge.”