Chapter 1 the science of biology
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CHAPTER 1 The Science of Biology. 1.1 What is Science?. What Science Is and Is Not. Scientific ideas are open to testing, discussion, and revision. Science as a Way of Knowing. Science is different from human endeavors because It deals only with the natural world

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CHAPTER 1 The Science of Biology

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CHAPTER 1 The Science of Biology

1.1 What is Science?

What Science Is and Is Not

  • Scientific ideas are open to testing, discussion, and revision.

Science as a Way of Knowing

  • Science is different from human endeavors because

    • It deals only with the natural world

    • Data is collected in an orderly way to look for patterns and connections

    • Explanations are based on evidence, not belief

The Goals of Science

  • To provide natural explanations for events in the natural world.

  • Use scientific explanations to understand patterns in nature and formulate predictions.

Science, Change, and Uncertainty

  • Nature is still a mystery because science is constantly changing.

  • Science rarely proves anything in absolute terms, so scientists aim for the best understanding of the natural world.

Scientific Methodology: The Heart of Science

  • There isn’t any single “scientific method,” but a general style of investigation called scientific methodology.

  • It involves observing, making inferences and forming hypotheses, conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions.

Observing and Asking Questions

  • Scientific investigations begin with observations.

  • A good scientist should be able to “Think something that nobody has thought yet, while looking at something that everybody sees.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Inferring and Forming a Hypothesis

  • After posing questions, scientists use observations to make inferences.

  • Inference combined with creative imagination can help to form a hypothesis.

Designing Controlled Experiments

  • Hypotheses should be tested in controlled experiments.

  • You need controlling variables to determine what is responsible for any changes that occur.

  • Scientists use multiple control and experimental groups so they can replicate the experiment.

Collecting and Analyzing Data

  • Quantitative Data – numbers obtained by counting or measuring

  • Qualitative Data – descriptions that can not be counted

  • To avoid error use a larger sample size. The larger the sample size, the more reliable the data is.

Drawing Conclusions

  • Use experimental data to support, refute, or revise the hypothesis.

  • If the hypothesis is not fully supported, you can reevaluate and design a new experiment.

When Experiments Are Not Possible

  • Some hypotheses can be tested by observation.

  • Some experiments are not possible because of ethics.

Weather Patterns

1.2 Science in Context

Exploration and Discovery: Where Ideas Come From

  • Observations may be inspired by scientific attitudes, practical problems, and new technology

Scientific Attitudes

  • Curiosity, skepticism, open-mindedness, and creativity help scientists generate new ideas

  • Skeptics question existing ideas and hypotheses

Practical Problems

  • Practical questions and issues inspire scientific questions, hypotheses, and experiments

The Role of Technology

  • Scientific discoveries may lead to new technologies, which enable scientists to ask new questions or to gather data in different ways

Communicating Results: Reviewing and Sharing Ideas

  • Communication and sharing of ideas are vital to modern science

Peer Review

  • Scientists publish articles, which contain details about experimental conditions, controls, data, analysis, and conclusions

  • These articles have been peer-reviewed by anonymous, independent experts, and allow researchers to share ideas and to test and evaluate each other’s work

Sharing Knowledge and New Ideas

  • New scientific finding spark new questions

  • Each new questions leads to new hypotheses and new experiments

Scientific Theories

  • The word theory applies to a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations and hypotheses and that enables scientists to make accurate predictions about new situations

  • No theory is considered absolute truth

Science and Society

  • Certain questions can’t be answered by science alone.

  • They involve the society in which we live, our economy, and our laws and moral principles.

Testing Mussels for Toxins

Science, Ethics, ad Morality

  • Pure science doesn’t include ethical or moral viewpoints

  • Science can’t tell us why life exists or what ways technology should be applied.

Avoiding Bias

  • Bias can be personal taste, preference for someone or something, and social standards of beauty

  • Scientific data can be misinterpreted or misapplied by scientists who want to pave a particular point

1.3 Studying Life

Characteristics of Living Things

  • Living things are made up of basic unites called cells, are based on a universal genetic code, obtain and use material and energy, grow and develop, reproduce, respond to their environment, maintain a stable internal environment, and change over time

Big Ideas in Biology

  • All biological studies are tied together by themes and methods of study that cut across disciplines.

  • The study of biology revolves around several interlocking big ideas.

1. Cellular Basis of Life

  • There are unicellular and multicellular organisms

  • Cells in mulitcellular organisms have many different shapes, sizes, and functions

2. Information and Heredity

  • Living things are based on universal genetic code

  • The information coded in DNA can influence your future, like risks for developing illnesses, or hair color

3. Matter and Energy

  • Life requires matter that serves as nutrients to build body structures, and energy fuels life’s processes

4. Growth, Development, and Reproduction

  • All living things reproduce, and the young grow and develop as they mature

  • During growth and development, generalized cells typically become more and more different and specialized for particular functions.

5. Homeostasis

  • Living things maintain a relatively stable internal environment

  • The breakdown of homeostasis may have serious or even fatal consequences.

6. Evolution

  • Evolutionary change links all forms of life to a common origin

  • Evolutionary theory is the central organizing principle of all biological and biomedical sciences

7. Structure and Function

  • Each major group of organisms has evolved its own collection of structures that make particular functions possible

8. Unity and Diversity of Life

  • All living things are fundamentally similar at the molecular level.

  • All organisms are considered of a common set of carbon-based molecules, store information in a common genetic code, and use proteins to build their structures and carry out their functions

9. Interdependence in Nature

  • All forms of life are connected into a biosphere and are linked to one another and to the land, water, and

    air around them

  • The relationship depends on the cycling of matter and the flow of energy

10. Science as a Way of Knowing

  • The job of science is to use observations, questions, and experiments to explain the natural world in terms of natural forces and events

  • Scientific research reveals rules and patterns that can explain and predict at least some events in nature

Fields of Biology

  • Biology includes many overlapping fields that use different tools to study life from the level of molecules to the entire planet

Global Ecology

  • Global ecological studies are enabling us to learn about our global impact


  • This field is based on our ability to “edit” and rewrite the genetic code

  • Biotechnology raises ethical, legal, and social questions

Building the Tree of Life

  • Biologists have discovered and identified roughly 1.8 million different kinds of living organisms

  • They want to combine the latest genetic information with computer technology to organize all living things into a single universal “Tree of All Life”

Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases

  • Relationships between hosts and pathogens are constantly changing

  • Organisms that can cause human disease have their own ecology, which involve our bodies, medicines we take, and our interactions with each other and the environment

Genomics and Molecular Biology

  • These fields focus on studies of DNA and other molecules inside cells.

Performing Biological Investigations

  • Biologists like other scientists, rely on a common system of measurement and practice safety procedures when conducting studies

Scientific Measurements

  • Most scientists use the metric system when collecting data and performing experiments

  • The metric system is a decimal system of measurement whose units are based on certain physical standards and are scaled on multiples of 10


  • Careful preparation is the key to staying safe during scientific activities

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