Defining the Science of Biology
1 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Biology Basics
Biology literally means the study of life. There are many different types of living organisms, environments, and combinations of genetic material. The science of biology includes all information related to studying living things, but a biologist does not and cannot study every facet of all living things. It would just take too much time. So, biologists specialize in certain areas of biology and focus their research.
With each specialist studying details of certain biological areas, the information can be pooled (usually at big conferences) and shared to make the knowledge base a bit wider. And that’s what science is: a continually growing knowledge base focused on things in nature, whether those natural things are banana trees, kangaroos, swordfish, dinosaurs, rocks, gases, or chemicals and cells that make up all of those things.
Biology is one of three major branches of science. Within these branches, the mysteries of life can be found and deciphered:
Biology is the branch of science that deals with living organisms.
Chemistry focuses on the chemicals that comprise matter.
Physics focuses on the laws that Mother Nature set for all matter: living and nonliving.
It may be frustrating when the media reports conflicting findings. After all, one day margarine is better for your cholesterol level, and then the next day, margarine produces harmful fatty acids that contribute to heart disease. However, when you hear those news reports, you are witnessing science at work. Years ago, when scientists figured out that high cholesterol levels contributed to heart disease, they correctly determined that a product created from vegetable oil rather than animal fat — margarine — was a healthier choice if you were trying to lower your cholesterol level.
But scientists don’t just leave things alone. They keep wondering, questioning, and pondering. They are curious fellows. So they keep researching margarine. And, recently, they discovered that when margarine breaks down, it releases transfatty acids, which were found to be harmful to the heart and blood vessels. Yes, this makes your decision in the grocery store a bit tougher, but just be thankful the knowledge base is wider. Scientific information is continually evolving, just like the scientists who are gathering it.