Biology — the mistaught subject that polarizes students (part 1)

It is no secret that to many people in many countries rote memorization is the principal approach to study and master Biology. This is one subject that has severely divided students into those with an 'engineering' bent of mind vs those with 'medical' bent of mind. Some young people clearly hate Biology because of the sheer amount of memorization and weird latin names, despite it being a window to the awesomeness called life.

There is a lot of logically driven and analytically explained phenomena in Biology, but somehow the subject or the way it is being taught has not been the favorites of many number-crunching, robot-loving, alogirthm-savvy young minds of the engineering cult.

I have mentioned earlier that in my opinion Biology is actually an applied macro science taught as a basic science. Fundamental concepts of Biology (e.g. Cell Division) can be further broken down into even more basic knowledge blocks (e.g. Diffusion, Chemotaxy or micro fluidics). But we don’t know all the fundamental details of life systems yet, discovery is an ongoing process. Hence it is what it is.

My hope however is that we have an open mind as we continue to discover life and bring down the explanation to as much basic fundamentals as possible so that one day we can write an algebraic equation to predict the prophase in cell division. (I know systems biology does take that approach but I dream that this becomes more 'basic’).

To teach an applied science, we should try to identify tangibles, underscore inter-relationships and discuss analogies. Like we do when we talk about….say… how aeroplanes fly. We derive principles of necessary fluid mechanics from Bernoulli’s theorem and look at birds for inspiration.

(to be continued)

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