The day my biochemistry class covered the genetic code, I felt a sense of awe and wonder akin to those usually reserved for religious experiences. My amazement of so many disparate elements coming together for a concerted and complicated purpose - essential and universal in all life - deeply affected me. While I may fall heavy to the science nerd side of the spectrum, I know that learning about nature and the world through science can impress and touch everyone.
Science was there for me when I was going through a terrible break-up. I wanted to understand why, even when I logically knew the split was for the best. I felt so terrible - physically and mentally. I found answers and comfort in a book about the role of neurotransmitters in our moods and emotions. It helped me to realize the role that serotonin and dopamine were playing in my head and how I might be able to alter my choices to coax these molecules to work for me again, rather than against me.
While reading this book, I suddenly knew that I wanted a serotonin necklace as a symbol to myself that our emotions can be related to molecules in our brains. Also, I've always loved molecular models - objects of beauty and fascination to me. Finally, I thought wearing a molecule around my neck would be a beacon to attract the interesting people at parties (it is, by the way). I would not have worn a nerdy-looking necklace. I'm a feminine dresser, and I appreciate art and design. I couldn't find anyone making molecule jewelry, nerdy or otherwise, so I decided to do it myself.
I started Made With Molecules to help fill a niche for beautiful things that celebrate the world discovered through science. I've found that people wear my molecule jewelry for many reasons: a celebration of wondrousness of the world at a molecular level, a personal symbol of someone they are or someone to which they aspire, a memento of a relationship, or a signifier to others of their interest and love of science in general or of the molecule specifically.
It was critical to me to design the jewelry in such a way to be chemically accurate, yet also aesthetic, so that the pieces are interesting and beautiful to those not interested in science. It touches on my secret hope: that such beautiful items will appeal to a group beyond those who identify as science nerds. Science fashion is science communication.
Science's reputation does not include being fashionable. Up until recently, the only science wearables available looked like figures taken directly from textbooks, and not in a good way.There are so many ways to take amazing, inspirational, and exquisite concepts from science and turn them into art and fashion. I hope more people do. I appreciate Descience Fashion for encouraging this. On a commercial level, there is certainly a demand for such things. I want these things. Please make them for me, for other science nerds, and for the non-nerds, too.
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Raven Hanna is the creator of Made With Molecules. She holds a PhD from Yale in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and lives in Pahoa, Hawaii.