Theoretical biology

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Theoretical biology is a field of academic study and research that involves the use of quantitative tools in biology.

Many separate areas of biology fall under the concept of theoretical biology, according to the way they are studied. Some of these areas include: animal behaviour (ethology), biomechanics, biorhythms, cell biology, complexity of biological systems, ecology, enzyme kinetics, evolutionary biology, genetics, immunology, membrane transport, microbiology, molecular structures, morphogenesis, physiological mechanisms, systems biology and the origin of life. Neurobiology is an example of a subdiscipline of biology which already has a theoretical version of its own, theoretical or computational neuroscience.

The ultimate goal of the theoretical biologist is to explain the biological world using mainly mathematical and computational tools. Though it is ultimately based on observations and experimental results, the theoretical biologist's product is a model or theory, and it is this that chiefly distinguishes the theoretical biologist from other biologists.

Theoretical biologists

See also

Bibliographical references

  • Bonner, J. T. 1988. The Evolution of Complexity by Means of Natural Selection. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Hertel, H. 1963. Structure, Form, Movement. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corp.
  • Mangel, M. 1990. Special Issue, Classics of Theoretical Biology (part 1). Bull. Math. Biol. 52(1/2): 1-318.
  • Prusinkiewicz, P. & Lindenmeyer, A. 1990. The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
  • Thompson, D.W. 1942. On Growth and Form. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 2. vols.
  • Vogel, S. 1988. Life's Devices: The Physical World of Animals and Plants. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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