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Cambridge University Science Magazine

Natalie the Scientist

Beyond bitten nails and lamppost-facing benches,

there was something free about Natalie. Her

eyebrows were thick and she never went to church

on Sundays. One morning, she decided to

become a Scientist. She wanted to know

about things in the world. She didn’t know, yet,

that everybody knows about things in the world.

But Scientists, she suspected, could tell her about

why she liked green fat plants and things like that.

Scientists did not have good answers when she came.

They were looking down at a cell and knew nothing

of their character. They said ‘Natalie,

Come look with us’ and she knew they were looking

at different pictures of the same Henrietta –

still pieces of a black woman, packed full of ink.


Just as the earth sprang out

of the centre of the solar system

under Galileo’s telescope;

as soon as Pasteur thought it,

it was true: germs caused

disease. The poisonous miasma

morphed into bacterium, protists,

fungi and more, plaguing any

informed soul in sight. A similar

occurrence to

velocity, which, having been

found relative, worsened

accidents all around the 

globe – nature had been

shifting in

fashions from the start;

every discovery had been true –

for good and bad alike

the fabric of

the universe had always been belief.

Laia Serratosa Capdevila is a writer, research associate, and founder of a one-person neuron tracing company. Artwork by Aina Serratosa Cadevilla.