Having never pursued a hobby seriously, I am somewhat in awe of the five scientists featured in "Passionate Diversions." It's not that I wouldn't want to garden, collect rocks, play bridge-they all sound like fun. But which would be the most fun? None draws me more than the others.
The striking thing about the passionate scientists is just that-their passion. They each are in love with their pastime, even if they cannot explain their devotion. Says Hopkins physicist Mark Robbins, an avid orchid collector, "I've done this in an insane fashion for about five years."
Robbins was just one of many Hopkins scientists/hobbyists I uncovered who did not make the final cut for the tight space allotted to our photo essay. Co-director of the Maryland Orchid Society, Robbins squeezes about 400 orchids into his home and office. Likewise, biologist Richard McCarty, interim dean of Arts & Sciences, prides himself on the 17 different varieties of magnolia in his garden. In between experiments, biologist Doug Fambrough tinkles the keys on the piano in his office.
In her free time, professor of health policy Sue Baker, an authority on airline safety, flies airplanes. There is also a rumor that one public health researcher is a big game hunter.
Several scientists are musically inclined. Renowned cancer researchers Bert Vogelstein, Ken Kinzler and some of their associates have a rock band named Wild Type (after the fruit fly) that performs in Fells Point. There's also the banjo-playing biologist Ludwig Brand.
And there's more, but I'd better stop. Perhaps collecting the names of hobbyists could become my hobby. Hmmm....
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