Jon Bjornstad

Statement of Purpose

My first sequence of formal education ended with a master's degree in pure mathematics. The necessity of making a living led to my learning the craft of computer programming by which I have supported myself for the past 9 years. My training and experience in these exact disciplines is, I believe, very valuable. I have developed a certain clarity of thought, a precision, an uncompromising standard of truth.

8 years ago a growing interest in food led me to make some experiments with my diet. The writings of Paavo Airola and the book Laurel's Kitchen influenced me greatly. I began to eat a lacto-vegetarian diet of whole natural foods. These changes came easily for me. I developed an intense curiousity about nutrition and a great awareness of the need for change - personal, local, national, and global. In 1977 the U.S. government published "Dietary Goals" and this excellent document provided a further focus. These goals were realistic, were backed by scientific experiment and common sense, and to my way of seeing were a giant step in the right direction. I felt a call. I felt an obligation to put whatever talents and energies I had toward this end.

Many people in the 60's and 70's went through the changes I did. Many people felt the call to help change come about. I think I am different than most of these people because of my background as a mathematician and computer programmer. Nutrition is not an exact science in the same as mathematics or physics, but there are truths to be seen, if one's mind is clear.

It has taken a great deal of effort to extricate myself from a career as a computer programmer and to re-educate myself as a biologist-chemist. My academic goal is to earn a Ph.D. in nutrition - to get a complete and rigorous education. There are too many self-appointed nutrition "experts" espousing their own personal views. I do not want to add to the confusion.

My research interests include nutrition education, cross-cultural studies, problems with dietary changes, and a field I feel will grow in importance - therapeutic nutrition.

Nutrition is an inter-disciplinary subject. Biochemistry, cell biology, public health, psychology, sociology, politics, ... all of these have their impact. Berkeley is at the center of research in all of these areas. Studying nutrition there would offer a very broad view enabling one to integrate knowledge from all of these diverse areas.

My ideal professional goal would be to teach nutrition in a medical school - there my efforts would have the greatest influence. An alternative would be a consultant on some level - government, industry, or private. My aim is to be of service - to devote whatever talents and energies I have to a good end.