Kevin G Ahern
Science has been in my blood ever since I was a child, when I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. My childhood dreams of the universe matured to studying the universe of a cell and I became a biochemist, but I carried with me the same passion I’d had as a child for my new subject. As a scientist, I feel I have an obligation to provide important, useful knowledge effectively to everyone. My entire scientific career, in fact, has been devoted to that ideal and I believe everyone would be as excited about the subject as I am if it were presented in a language they could understand.
As a Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, I got to work with thousands of talented biological science students who attended Oregon State University and it was the highlight of my career. To ensure I reached as many of them as possible, I videotaped my class lectures and broadcast them for free on YouTube, reaching well over 5,000,000 views at last count. Observing my students, I realized everyone learns better when they have fun doing it, so it was with this goal in mind that I wrote the “Metabolic Melodies,” a collection of over 100 scientific songs I sang to my classes regularly.
Besides classroom and Web instruction, I helped to spread the word about my chosen subject of biochemistry by co-authoring three textbooks of biochemistry (two of which are open access – free to students and professors). I also had stints as a Contributing Editor with Science Magazine, BioTechniques, and Genetic Engineering News spanning from 1998 to 2011. Along the way I made commercial videos aimed at medical students for a German company (Lecturio) and most recently I completed a set of videos with The Great Courses aimed at a general audience entitled “Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – How Life Works.” It has been extraordinarily gratifying to be able to help so many people and have these efforts recognized nationally, across our state, and at OSU. Though I retired as a Professor in 2018, I still carry with me the passion and excitement I’ve had all of my life for spreading knowledge and helping people to use it to improve their lives.