Thursday, February 4, 2010

Busman's half-holiday

The meeting with the FDA crew went very well today, and I got complements on my presentation from the marketing and product managers who oversaw the work on which it was based. We had a lovely lunch with the fish toxicologist (who is helping to build a fish library complete with fish identified by a taxonomist and the DNA sequences with the Smithsonian) and ocean scientist with whom we will be working. J asked me how I planned to spend the afternoon, and I said in my room working. Why don't I take the Metro to the Mall and go to the oceanographic exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History? Because I have never been on the Metro. Easy, he said, you leave your car in the FDA lot, get on the green line, transfer to the blue line and get off at the Smithsonian station. Well, it did sound like more fun than staring at beige wallpaper and a computer screen, so off I went.

No problem, even for me who once took a trolley north trying to get to the Mexican border from San Diego. So I gaped at the whale skeleton, the very cool illuminated big (BIG!) globe with the various currents and oceanographic features playing out on the surface (how did they DO that) and eventually wandered over to the irresistible fossils. I decided to look for a fish book in the museum store, and the nice man with the cane struck up a conversation with me. He works with the ithicologists, so we discussed the research with the FDA and he recommended a book for my further education (Barnes and Noble, cheap, he says).

So what I have learned (twice!) this week is when you have lunch with fish scientists, someone is bound to order fish, look over the menu item on the plate, and speculate on whether it is really the species the menu says. I'm not there yet, guess I had better order the book.

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