Back in undergrad, I wrote a term paper for May Berenbaum’s Insects & People honors seminar. The assignment was to relate something about insects to people’s daily lives. At the time, I was finishing up the first course in the year long classical mechanics sequence, so my daily life was physics problem sets. For the first time, I noticed something. There are a lot of insects in mechanics word problems (if a roach is walking on a turntable…; if a bee files in a spiral parametrized by… ). It seems they were always there, but take a class on insects and all of sudden you notice them making cameos. So, that’s what I wrote about. It was a fun paper.
Seven years later, this paper makes it into the first chapter of her book: The Earwig’s Tail: A Modern Bestiary of Multi-legged Legends.
It’s kinda funny; reading it on Google Books. My only complaint is that she misspelled my last name. It’s not Van Houdnos; it’s VanHoudnos. That’s why I didn’t know about it; I had never google stalked myself with the alternate spelling of “nathan van houdnos” before.
I’m pretty excited about this. I’ll have to see if she’ll send me a signed copy. :)
This essay in the American Entomologist is actually my first citation in a published work. It’s from Spring 2003, so it beats the book by several years. (Of course, the essay is the relevant part of the book; it’s not like I have two citations or anything.)