Essay

From the beautiful to the obscure

A doctor’s words can enlighten, obfuscate or amuse, a fourth-year student observes.

As someone who probably should have majored in English instead of geology, I often feel my mind oscillate between two modes of thought: the scientific and the lettered. I hear myself say “Romberg negative, no dysdiadochokinesis or pronator drift,” and the lexicophile in me stands back, marveling. They may be English, but those words are as opaque to the layman as the treasured two-inch clipping on my fridge is to me. It announces a physics lecture at Yale—“Time-Reversal Breaking and the Theory of the Gap in Underdoped Cuprates.” But when it comes to delightful obscurity, cleverness or just beauty, medical language holds its own, even against the physicists.We have the scimitar sign, the cloverleaf skull and my...

Read more...


 
Download on the Apple App Store