While I was at the HSMG Conference last weekend, I took advantage of the opportunity to sit in on two sessions, both of which were very chemistry-rich. Let me preface this by saying that just being in these sessions was a matter of extreme self-discipline and personal challenge. You see, while chemistry is now pretty much my life, I did horrible at it in high school and college, earning C’s at both levels. (I guess I should take some sort of solace in the fact that, while the work got harder, I didn’t get dumber.)
The first session was led by Dr. Cindy Jones of SageScript Institute (a Colorado company) and dealt with the Chemistry of Cosmetics. The second session I attended was led by Dr. Kevin Dunn of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and was an hour-and-a-half on trace, which is one small part of the cold- and hot process soapmaking process. I learned how emulsifiers work. I learned the difference between the molecular structure of saturated and unsaturated fats. I learned what it means when a fatty acid is referred to as an “Omega-3 fatty acid.” And I learned that light trace in soap has a viscosity of 150 centipoise (my new favorite word that I try to find a way to use daily).
I’ll expound on these answers (because, really, doesn’t everyone want to know them?) this week. I’m curious, though. What’s the latest thing you’ve learned that helps make you better at what you do, be it a business or a hobby?