This natural science is (so far) unique to planet Earth. Other than some theoretical questions about extraterrestrial life posed by astrobiology, biology primarily studies life and living organisms here on our planet. Even more than that, biology really only applies to the organisms we know. We don't even know all the organisms on Earth, and we still make periodic discoveries that change the way we think about biology as we know it. Did you know that octopi have three hearts and 9 brains? And some other animals like starfish and jellyfish have no brain. Meanwhile, some plants have memory, and respond to touch. So what distinguishes plants from animals? And if all these things are possible on Earth, what's possible on other planets? The biology articles here ponder these questions and others to help you understand how life and organisms formed and what keeps them going.
Life is extremely complicated, making it one of the things we still don't fully grasp. But scientists are making big strides all the time in understanding life as a whole, as well as understanding specific organisms and the differences between them. We're even starting to be able to unify biology with other sciences like physics. In this category, you can explore the parts of biology we are familiar with, the parts we still need to learn, and the people involved in the field through a variety of biology articles.
Biology Articles Covering the Main Branches
There is quite a long list of branches in biology due to the huge variation of living organisms on Earth. Each division of the field focuses on a certain aspect, such as structure, behavior, or environment. Areas like anatomy, ecology, paleontology, and zoology look at the bigger picture of full organisms and even systems of multiple organisms. Microbiology, nanobiology, genetics, and molecular biology look at very small organisms or the very small parts of larger ones. Areas like pharmacology and biotechnology are interdisciplinary in that they apply knowledge from biology to other fields, and vice versa. You can check out a more detailed list of topics in the biology article here.
Modern biology is relatively new, officially arising in the 1800s. Of course, the general inspection and study of living things has been part of human behavior since ancient times. We studied other animals to figure out how we could hunt and consume them, or plants to see how to forage and eventually grow them. We would cut up dead bodies to see what was on the inside, and observed how eating different plants could help cure our ailments.
Eventually, biology became a formal science adhering to the ideas of experimentation and evidence-based proof. This led to the modern foundations of biology that are widely accepted and usually taught in lower-level classrooms. These are energy, cell theory, genetics, evolution, and homeostasis. Energy relates to biology because organisms constantly experience an input and output of it (aka food and waste). Chemical reactions occur within living things that help them achieve this. Relating to energy as well as other conditions of organisms, homeostasis is the ability of an open system to maintain stability through self-regulation. All living organisms are actually open systems that exhibit homeostasis.
Cells are small structures that compose all living things, and within cells exists DNA. In turn, DNA is the building block (or at least one of the building blocks) of life. Sections of DNA compose genes, which act as units of inheritance and form the basis of genetics. The inheritance of these genes throughout generations is what drives evolution. Evolution is now well established as the method through which all life today arose from a common origin through descent from an ancestral gene pool. You may want to look into more thorough biology articles for in-depth historical context on the subject.
Current Biology Research
Like most modern sciences, biology has taken huge strides and really established itself in the last couple centuries. We have a pretty good grasp on basic principals, as well as many more advanced principals. But, there is still a lot we don't know. Some of it arguably wouldn't be very practical to know, like the origin and reason of sex, or even how life originally formed. We mainly pursue these subject our of curiosity, or in the hopes that something useful might come of it.
But other advancements could certainly help society as we know it. The curing and prevention of diseases, engineering animal-less meat, and more. Scientists are currently perfecting the 3-D printing of organs, hopefully soon making long waiting lists for donated organs a thing of the past. Preventing aging is another big one with a lot of work surrounding it, ultimately opening the doors to preventing scarring, Alzheimers, and even autism. This is an exciting time for biology, so don't miss out on biology articles that highlight the big events happening before our very eyes.
Careers in Biology and Articles to Help You Reach Your Goals
If joining the ranks of talented scientists in the field interests you, there are many opportunities. Lower-level positions such as biological technicians in laboratory settings can eventually lead to more advanced roles. But, having a high-level degree is not only helpful for getting higher up the ladder, it is also sometimes necessary. You'll notice that most of the more prominent biologists today have PhDs. However, this isn't the only path. There are a range of opportunities for different levels of education.
For example, wildlife and zoological biologists can work hands on with animals without needing so much education. Biochemists or biophysicists work more on medical or other scientific research and rely on higher education. The wide range of topics and positions likewise leads to a range of salaries, so just take all the factors into account. Whatever area you're interested in, find a relevant or general foundation bachelor's degree to build off of. The biology articles here can help you figure out which topics you'd most like to focus on. From there, you can take the next steps to reach your goals.
Studying biology can be a bit different than studying other sciences. It often isn’t as predictable or testable as most natural sciences, even though physics and chemistry are often thought to play critical roles in biological processes. But scientists are learning more about the field every day, with rates of advancement greatly outpacing those of previous centuries. With Direct Knowledge biology books, you can see the advancements they’re making and maybe even become part them.
Fundamental Biology Books
Biology is the natural science that looks at living things. However, by the nature of the field, biology involves other natural sciences such as physics and chemistry, too. And then it can go on to integrate itself into applied fields like medicine, agriculture, and even astronomy (looking at you, astrobiology). This makes it a diverse field with many areas to study and work in.
Starting from the ground up, biology books such as Cell and Molecular Biology: What We Know & How We Found Out are great for building foundations. It covers the groundwork of cells and their formation, then moving on to genetics and DNA. This leads in to how life comes about, all the while drawing important connections between all the different information. It also offers a number of experiments and examples that demonstrate the real workings of biology for the reader.
Books for Non-Majors
Similarly, Concepts of Biology breaks down the basics of the subject. However, it is designed for students not majoring in biology. It makes a great supplement to biology 101 classes that many students take as part of their core curriculum. With over two dozen contributing authors and reference resources and critical thinking questions, students are sure to get a wide perspective that's also easy to understand.
Thus, the biology books in this category will help you to learn what we know in the field of biology. The depth of study starts from the very basic, then going into much more detail. It eventually gets to a point where even experts in the field don't fully understand the details. For instance, there is still so much we don't know about how life works. From the most simple organisms to our own complex bodies, we don't know exactly how or why many processes take place. This is where the study of biology turns into memorization for the layman and advanced research for the professionals.
Exploring Diverse Applications
Although much of the material in the field relies heavily on memorization, there are helpful tips and methods here for keeping track of it all. And the biology books here typically include practice questions, reference guides, and visual diagrams to help the information stick.
Preparatory materials also focus on specific problem areas to help you move on to the next step; whether it's passing that exam, getting into that college, or advancing in a career. Some of the areas where prep and assistance can really help out are cell theory, evolution, organic chemistry, and genetics. And mastering these fields can help you get into a range of fields that use biology.
For instance, cancer research is a growing field constantly making breakthroughs in this day and age. It seems to be on the verge of really making cancer a thing of the past, but to do that it needs the best and brightest young minds to join in the work.
In general, medicine uses biology in almost every aspect of research and application. Agriculture, too, is going through a lot of changes these days. Extreme population growth over the past century means that we need to feed billions of people using the same resources we've always had. To do this, biology looks at how to use these resources in the most efficient and creative ways.
Take a look at the biology books in this category to see more ways in which biology can be used in different fields.