I love science. My jobs have all been science related, and they all allow me to assist in the development of new technologies that help other scientist in their research. Today, I’m lucky enough to work at a company whose mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. There are lots of ways this is done at Thermo Fisher Scientific, but one of my favorite areas of focus is the Food and Beverage market.
My love of science started with the first experiment I performed in kindergarten. I remember it vividly. It was a sunny spring day and the teacher had a big surprise for us. We were all going to participate in a time-tested, simple science experiment that was both fascinating and delicious. We made butter in a jar by shaking heavy cream, and were able to taste it on snack crackers once done.
There were other interesting experiments that followed, many of which had to do with food. I learned how potato pieces planted and propagated into a winter’s worth of food from my family garden. This was also demonstrated on the recent movie, The Martian, and I hope it inspired others to investigate science. I found out that vinegar and oil for salad dressing don’t “like” each other much and need an emulsifier to keep them together. I learned about solubility and saturated solutions when drinking coffee with my grandmother. Adding sugar made it sweeter to drink and too much sugar was wasteful as it did not all dissolve and was left behind in the bottom of the cup. Grandma never approved of waste.
Today, I’m able to work on different food and beverage initiatives. Ensuring the safety of our food supply is so important and has many aspects. Detecting physical contaminants in food, such as metal, glass, stone, plastic and bone is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, especially when the contaminant may be as small as 1 mm in diameter. Now, accurate and reliable metal detectors and X-ray detection systems provide the highest sensitivity so you can find virtually any metallic and non-metallic substance in your packaged food. For confirmation of microorganisms in meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables, seafood, dairy and more, new strategies are being developed to keep our food safe. If you’re interested, a three-part webinar series on Understanding and Delivering Extractables & Leachables Testing is available on demand. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear about new methods to determine if harmful chemicals are leaching out of packaging into our food. I know I’m lucky to be able to have a career in science, and to have so much stimulating work surrounding me.
I learned at a very young age that science was part of every aspect of life. If I had a question about how or why something worked, a scientist may have already found the answer. If no one had an answer for my question, I could use experiments to get closer to or find the answer myself. I couldn’t help but be drawn into science. It’s amazing how something small and ordinary can engage a young mind and shape their future. I think we should all be aware of this possibility especially when we have chances to interact with children. I’m the aunt and mom that gives science gifts for birthdays, is always ready to go to the aquarium, farm, science museum, or on a nature walk. I still love every bit of science.