Marian C. Diamond  1926-2017

Acetylcholinesterase. It’s good to have a lot
if you are wending through a maze as a rat (or not –
I go down dead-end lanes though I’ve been that way before
That enzyme of the brain? I could use a little more)

Acetylcholinesterase. It’s fortunate we got it
Without it we couldn’t say it, we’d be monosyllabic
Dr. Diamond knew her chemistry and knew the enzyme rose
in rats that could more sensibly solve the problems posed

And then she caused a rupture – she made a kick-ass claim:
Environment affects the structure of the (so-thought) rigid brain!

To prove to the ages that the brain is not static
She built two types of cages, the difference emphatic
Some were equipped with ladders and wheels for all
The others got shit: unglamorous steel walls

The brains of the plain, bored with the view
Weren’t the same as their twain, whose cortices grew
Her work caused a sensation, was useful and crucial
And led to the installation of foosball at Google   

She showed that the brain can grow throughout our lives
And explained what we know: husbands’ and wives’
structures are way varied in lobes cerebral
And why one might stay married to egotistical evil

Because of her research in the protoplasmic vein
She had the privilege to work on a mathematician’s brain
She did not uncover whence EMC squared
Nor did she discover what’s up with the hair

But she noticed a high concentration of glial cells
And that caused a sensation, but others said, “Well
Many big brains of idiots are just like this!”
The language isn’t pretty but you get the drift

It wasn’t easy for Diamond in a masculine world
A woman with a mind is still just a girl
She once presented a paper on the growth of the brain
A man called out, “Young Lady! The brain cannot change!”

She replied succinctly to this ridiculous man
I’m sorry, sir, but we have the initial experiment
and the replication experiment that shows it can.”

Or in layman’s terms “Hey that’s enough!
Still still and learn and shut the fuck up!

At a time when science is under attack
Her contributions remind us to stay on track
Look to her work when you feel you don’t matter
Rediscover your worth in wheels and ladders


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