Why I love science and coding

Green Code

Why I love codingMarkus Spiske/Unsplash

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m guessing you are here to learn a bit more about what this blog is about and what kind of content I’ll be posting here.

Well, it’s mostly going to be science and coding related articles. However, I don’t want to limit myself, so from time to time, you might see a story about productivity. Maybe I’ll even dare to write about politics. Just kidding, I’m not that reckless. 

Why I love science 🧬

I loved science ever since I was a kid. For me, it’s the only way to understand the world that makes sense, really. That is not to say that science is perfect because it has does have its flaws. In fact, one of the things I most hate about science is the way the academic world is set up. All the prestige, all the rush to publish academic papers. Yikes!

I just love when scientists are curious about something and just decide to start asking questions. One of my favourite researchers by the name of Shinya Yamanaka embodies this philosophy perfectly. In 2006, Yamanaka published a paper that changed the field of biology. Yamanaka discovered how to make iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells).

In a nutshell, cells can have different types of potency. Potency is the ability of a cell to become another more specialized cell. For example, a cell with pluripotency might be able to become a neuron or a skin cell or an immune cell or a sperm cell and the list goes on. All these examples of cells are very specialized and they can only do one job.

The beauty of pluripotent cells is that they can become almost any type of cell they want. This is very useful because once you become an adult, most of your cells are very specialized (with quite a few exceptions of course). 

So, if you ever lose some type of tissue, pluripotent cells could be differentiated (technical word meaning “transformed”) to become that tissue. Ideally then, you would inject them to replace the lost tissue.

I say ideally because this is still a work in progress. As of 2022, you can’t just inject pluripotent cells and hope they fix everything. Actually, if you do that, it’s very likely that a type of cancer tissue will form called teratocarcinoma

This type of cancer is truly terrifying. They are known to possibly have hair and teeth growing out of them. Oh, and of course, they can kill you. (I’m not including an image here on purpose to not traumatize anyone. However, you can search for an image of a teratocarcinoma on google. Do it at your own risk however since it’s a bit scary :).

Anyway, I’m getting off track here. What Shinya Yamanaka discovered that was truly amazing was a way to take a skin cell for example and convert it to a pluripotent cell. This might seem trivial, but it’s extremely hard to do. Remember skin cells are very specialized and they only do one job. The human equivalent would be taking a lawyer and teaching it to become a professional painter in a matter of weeks!

What Yamanaka found out was that by just using some “simple” factors, this could be achieved! A skin cell could become pluripotent and essentially become any time of cell type. Isn’t that amazing?

But what fascinates me about Yamanaka is not only this amazing discovery but how he did it.

How Yamanaka Discovered iPS Cells and Why I Love It

There is a famous aphorism in academia called “Publish or perish”. It speaks to the fact there is quite a lot of pressure on scientists to publish relevant scientific papers to important publications such as Nature, Cell, etc. 

So much so, that your scientific career might even depend on how frequently you publish and how significant are your results. This means that there is no time to play around or try things that are deemed impossible to achieve. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I love. And that’s exactly what Yamanaka did. 

Yamanaka try something that everyone thought was impossible to achieve: using a few genes to drive the unspecialized cells.

As Nessa Carey explained in her book “The Epigenetics Revolution” (which I highly recommend if you like this topic):

“It seemed a long shot and there was always the worry that if the results were negative — i.e. if none of the cells went ‘backwards’ — he wouldn’t know if it was because it just wasn’t possible or if he just hadn’t got the experimental conditions right. This was a risk for an established scientist like Yamanaka, but it was an even bigger gamble for a relatively junior associate like Takahashi, because of the way that the scientific career ladder works.” — Nessa Carey in The Epigenetics Revolution

And I would say that it worked quite well for him since 6 years later he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine alongside another brilliant scientist called John B. Gurdon.

That’s exactly why I love science, because sometimes by just being curious about something and asking basic questions¹ you can achieve things that can literally change the world and our understanding of it.

Why I love coding 👨‍💻

Coincidentally, coding is also something I have been passionate about ever since I was a teenager. There’s something about the immediacy of testing if a change in your code will produce exactly what you were intending and finally get it right. It’s just magical to me!✨

I also absolutely love how with coding you can accomplish truly amazing things: you can connect people, you can build an app or a website really valuable for someone on the opposite side of the globe, etc.

We live in an unprecedented age where everyone can speak to anyone within seconds and everyone has access to the vast majority of human knowledge. And it all happens through code and computers. So, to me being a coder feels like being a wizard while everyone else that doesn’t code is a muggle.

With code you can spark revolutions, you can give voice to the voiceless and you can impact millions of lives. You can change the world just by moving your fingers in an orderly manner. Don’t you think that’s amazing?

On top of that, computer science and coding can be applied to virtually every field: medicine, law, art, science, business, etc. With the rise of machine learning and AI technologies, our world is going to change in ways we can’t even begin to predict.

And it’s all because of code.

What Type of Content Should You Expect on this Blog? 📝

You can expect everything from biology and astrophysics to apps and cool websites. I don’t have any set goals right now (as this is my first post ever), but all I know is that I want to have fun and improve my writing skills. 

And hopefully, someone will also have fun with me :).


Thank you so much for reading and sorry that this article is all over the place (as I said, it’s my first).

Just a quick note that if you enjoy what I write about here, you can also check out my website thegreencode.org. Also if you really really like what I do, make sure you check out my Patreon. All the money I make through Medium or my blog goes into financing new projects and ideas (websites) or it gets donated to charity.

I’ll make a future blog post explaining more about how I want to manage money (if I make any of course), but in a nutshell, I want to reinvest everything I make into Green Code. The only money I really keep (to you know, eat and stuff) is thanks to the supporters at Patron.

So if you like what I do and want to get access to some cool features, consider supporting me :) 

No pressure of course. The fact that you are read my posts is more than enough for me :).

Oh also check out my other stuff.

[1]: It’s obviously much more complicated than that, but at its core science is being curious and testing your understanding of a particular subject.

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I want to make the world a better place by coding. That's always been my dream. I want to be able to connect with people around the world and put a smile on someone's face :)

New York, NY

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