Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chemistry of Love (What is love?)

14th Febuary 2012, Valentines Day, there was a science lecture on Love by Dr. Christopher Slatter, Chemistry teacher in SST. So, what is love in the science world?

Love is...
—> an interdisciplinary subject (a mixture of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Psychology)
—> based on carbon (organic element)

-> possesses a strong covalent bond. (said to catenate)
-> joins in long chains and rings

Hormones: Chemical messengers (slow in reaction, has long-lasting effects)
-> Male—Testosterone (Lower levels are more attractive to women)
-> Female—Oestrogen (steroidal) Higher levels mean female is prettier/more fertile

Chemicals that are involved during the process of love:
-> Endorphins: produced by pituitary gland & hypothalamus ( produce analgesia and human sense of well-being)
-> Pheromones: makes one develop attraction
-> Dopamine: stimulates brain's reward centre (person feels good)
-> Serotonin: high levels of this causes people to be excited
-> Phenylethylamine: found in chocolate
-> Oxytocin: cuddling chemical
-> Vasopressin: monogamy chemical (found in Prairie Vole, only 3% of animals have it)

Neurotransmitters: have structure containing carbon with hydrogen and nitrogen. (Dopamine, Seronin, Norepinephrine, Phenylethylamine etc.)

These are the notes taken by me during the lecture, and the lecture has given me more insights on how science has a link with the processes that animals and humans experience, even love. This allowed me to know more about the chemicals found in the body which enables us to have certain reactions or feelings to our surroundings as well as what the chemical does to generate certain feelings and emotions.

—Grace Tan Soo Woon (05)

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