It is a huge thrill to discover something new. Even if that thing is only new to me, and maybe even if other people do not see the significance.
Earlier this year I was able to see for the first time a progression of fungus gnat larva. I even got some quick photographs.
That was an enjoyable and emotional experience for me. I already knew about them, having read some recent blog posts from other people that had even better photos. But until that time I had not seen the phenomenon in person. I was so excited about it I shared what I had seen with co-workers, friends, and family members. The typical reaction was either a blank stare or revulsion: Yuck, maggots!
A few years back I discovered a huge mound of digger bee nests under my porch, and digger bees making their little tunnels.
Reactions were similar, although I was able to show some of my pictures at the annual Day of Insects event put on at Rieman Gardens in Ames, and the insect enthusiasts were a little more interested.
The discovery was a huge thrill for me.
I even discovered small flies that mated in the chimneys created by the digger bees. I am not sure of their exact role, but I strongly suspect that they are parasites.
Even though I do not have all of the answers, the discovery of the bees and the flies and the questions that surround their life cycles was an emotional experience for me.
Thirty years ago I read about the rotary mechanism of the bacterial flagella. That was something that changed my view of science. Then I found myself picturing bacteria attached to a substrate, with their flagella rotating in the current. And I pictured spiral bacteria attached by their flagella, with the body of the bacteria rotating in the current.
And I came up with a series of questions. If the flagella is forced to rotate, does the bacteria create its own food from the motion–that is, does the reaction work in reverse?
Whether or not bacteria can create food from motion, are there other organisms that can do it? If the energy of motion is kinetic energy, are there kinetitrophic autotrophic organisms?
The discovery of this question was hugely emotional for me, and I am still not over it. I have posted on this subject previously–if you find the tab at the top of this post you may see where I am going with this. And I still have not made the progress I want to with it.