Whenever he thought about it, he felt terrible. And so, at last, he came to a fateful decision. He decided not to think about it. ~John-Roger and Peter McWilliams
Question #92607 posted on 09/13/2019 2:54 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I have a complicated question about biochemistry, and the internet has no answer for me (and it can't be condensed short enough for Google to return any meaningful results, anyway). I suspect BYU must have a biochemistry professor who would know how to answer it. But I'm not currently in a biochemistry class, nor have I ever taken one, and I don't personally know any staff from the biochemistry department, so... do you just email random professors until one responds? Would they respond to some rando claiming to be a student but not actually on any of their class rolls? Would they have the time? Do you email the department and hope they redirect you to a professor who would probably know the answer?

Basically, short of taking a class taught by them, how do you establish a connection to a professor, especially when you don't even know which professor?

-I've been here 4 semesters why do I still not know how to do this

A:

Dear Four, 

Look at the list of professors online on the Department Directory, or talk to a department office about who might have the most expertise in your area of interest. Professors LOVE to share their knowledge. 

I also know that office hours are severely underused. If you know someone who might be in a Chem class, you could ask them when their professor's office hours are and go to them. Chances are, you'll be the only one. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear you,

Have I ambushed professors (as in, literally leaped out at them in a hallway) when I was not in any of their classes, and also had not taken any classes from them? Yes, yes I have. On multiple occasions, in fact. It worked out great for me, but I think in large part that was because I was in ACME and was ambushing other ACME professors (even if I wasn't taking classes from them). 

I share this because it highlights how willing professors are to help students. I don't recommend that you lie in wait at the biochemistry department to attack the first professor you see with your question. But I do think you would be just fine to look up who teaches biochemistry at BYU and send them an email. Alternatively, you could find some biochemistry students, and ask them which professors they think would be open to you approaching them with a question.

Good luck,

~Anathema

A:

Dear You,

I've emailed plenty of professors out of the blue, and gotten quite a few responses. When professors haven't been able to answer my questions they almost always refer me to someone who can. Quite the helpful lot those professors.

Peace,

Tipperary