Learning Microbiology

Ray Moore raym at RMOORE.COM
Tue Aug 20 23:43:09 EST 1996

Dear Micro list members,

I want to thank you all for the response to my list of questions
on learning microbiology.  There was lots of response and I am
going to find it very useful.  I will clarify my goals more toward
the end of this letter, but right now I would like to make some
comments about some of the responses:

1.  Several people said in essence "you just can't learn microbiology
on your on."  I have a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics, with a pretty good
foundation in Chemistry and Physics and a lone Biology course, so I am
not daunted at all to set out to learn something like this.  But more
important, I don't think it is impossible for anyone to learn anything
"on their on".  At the risk of offending some of the very helpful people
who responded, I remind those who were negative of the old adage "those
who can, do; those who can't, teach."

2.  One person asked if I had an analytic balance because I was making
dope.  No, it was a piece of equipment that I used in a metal
assay lab that I owned.

3.  Some people suggested that I just hire a commercial lab for what I
need.  If one stays in business long enough he learns that there is 
always a certain level of expertise that must be gained in house, e.g.,
the metal assay lab mentioned above came into being after some bad 
assays from a very reputable commercial lab cost us about $20,000.00.
Losses like that and a continuing potential for similar losses can 
make the necessary lab apparatii seem cheap to acquire.

Now for some clarification:  There are two areas in which I want to develop
capability.  The first is testing for pathogens that may be found in milk
and dairy products, particularly cheese, that can cause disease or death
in humans.  The second is isolating, identifying, and propogating the 
various microbials used in culturing milk, and ripening and aging cheeses.
There is always another goal and that is to enjoy what I do, and 
learning is always one of the most enjoyable aspects of any venture.

Thanks again to all you very nice people.

Ray Moore
ray at rmoore.com

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