I’m currently taking my fourth and fifth classes of this school year. They are general Chemistry 2 and Chem 2 Lab. I’m sure you (and my work who is reimbursing me partly) are wondering why the hell a computer programmer like me would need a chemistry course. That’s a really good question that I don’t have a good answer to.

Part of the answer is that I want to take organic chemistry. The reason for this is another question that I don’t have an answer to. It’s something that I know nothing about, so it makes me very curious. It also is a subject that I am told is one of the hardest to master, and I like a good challenge. This also opens the door to physical chemistry which is another subject that I know absolutely nothing about.

A bigger reason why I want to take chemistry is that I don’t want to be doing what I currently am doing for a living for the rest of my life. Sure, it’s challenging and interesting (and pays well) but I think everybody should make at least one big career change in their life. Not that I want to run out and be a chemist, but I can see myself applying all that I’ve learned as a programmer to a field like biochemistry.

How, you may ask? Well, today what I do is I program large, distributed computing systems to move around huge volumes of information. That is very similar to modeling complex chemical processes. Every atom, ion and molecule in a chemical system along with it’s bond (or charge) information is like a message that moves around the system that is the model. Although I’m still learning the rules that describe the chemistry that would need to be programmed into the model, I’m sure that there is a use for my expertise in the field. Increasingly drug companies are modelling chemicals on computers before testing them in a lab, so right there is one opportunity for me. Hopefully I could find a spot at the Cleveland Clinic (where I currently work) that would let me harness the massive computing power of the 19,000 desktop computers about the clinic into a large distributed super-computer.

Anyway, enough about that. I’m sure class will keep me busier than I’ve been so far, but hopefully I’ll find the time to keep this up to date.