Some Musings on the Sciences

Today I’d like to talk about the 3 main fields of science: Biology, Chemistry and Physics (and some math). As you may remember from some middle school science classes, Biology is the study of life, Chemistry is the study of matter and its properties and Physics is the study of matter, energy and their interactions. Pretty much the following diagram (which is my own work, apologies for mistakes) sums it up perfectly:

decorated-fields-of-science.jpg

But really, I have some pretty strong thoughts about the sciences, about how they work, how pure they are and their actual usefulness. How pure they are is pretty easy as summarised in this diagram from xkcd, a nerdy comic site:

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Apart from being amusing, this seems quite legitimate. For starters, sociology is a social science, in other words, not a science. Psychologists actually talk to people, so are not nerdy or introverted enough to scientists. The others seem legitimate, bio then chem then physics … they all have ways of describing some phenomena in the world. And then maths, they’re so pure and untainted that they don’t bother with describing the world, they just find patterns in numbers. I mean, aren’t numbers arbitrary anyway? Regardless, mathematicians are obsessed with prime numbers and functions that go on forever.

But, now, I endeavour to detail my thoughts on each science; however, with one warning. I am not a scientist. I’ve done a few first-year science courses and that’s it, so you can probably take anything I say with a grain of salt. Now, onwards!

 

Biology

The first of what I call the ‘real’ sciences. It’s actually pretty annoying because they don’t have any proper laws. There are a few general rules that tend to work the majority of the time, so 51% of the time is a majority, right? (Most biologists do not excel in statistics). They classify known species and work to find more and how they live and so on. Some biologists try to find out how they work and generally end up as biochemists. I mean even big things like how a gecko climbs up walls (dispersion forces = chemistry), digestion (enzymes = chemistry), it’s all Chemistry, so onward!

 

Chemistry

Chemistry, in my opinion is very interesting but it’s just about finished as a science. I mean, they’ve discovered all the naturally occurring elements and put them into a pretty table and now, apart from the few determined scientists trying to find new elements, everyone else is stuck with being applied chemists, which are pretty much just engineers working with little stuff, or they’re the biochemists mentioned above. And if they try and look more in depth at their elements and how the individual atoms are composed, they become physicists, so lets talk about them.

 

Physics

Physics seems to measure up pretty well as compared to Biology and Chemistry … at first glance. It has plenty more to do, what with working out quantum physics and relativity, finding out how the universe began, smallest constituents of matter and so on. It doesn’t have biology’s problem of ‘laws’ full of exceptions. Physics’ laws are great, well except for the fact that they deal with either too small to see or too big to measure. So they’ve got great laws that no-one can disprove because they’re only theory and no-one can design an experiment to test them. I think that’s kinda cheating, nudge, nudge string theorists! And their theories are all based on math…

 

Math

Math, the mathematicians would argue, is the basis of all the sciences. They can model biological populations, they vaguely apply in chemical equations and the basis of all the physicists’ untestable theories (though if you ask the mathematicians, they’d say they do better maths than the physicists … just because they don’t apply it to anything). The mathematicians work out laws, rules, formulae and patterns of numbers that they don’t do anything with themselves. They give big prime numbers to cryptographers, provide statistical tools to model the biologists’ populations, and the physicists use all sorts of crazy ideas to make their theories work. Anyway, they think they’re amazing but the rest of the world doesn’t even try to understand.

 

Interdisciplinary Scientists

These guys are nearly cheating. Taking the best of multiple worlds (not restricted to 2, like, meet the nanobiotechnologists). Neglecting the difficulties and failings of certain fields; however they’re still a step above the applied scientists who are just engineers or sociologists with science degrees. But in actuality, interdisciplinary scientists are some of the most essential in research today, because we actually want the biochemists to work out how our bodies work best and the nanobiotechnologists can make cool things like little tiny cancer-fighting robots. And I should say that I want to study biophysics or quantum biology to look at really, really tiny body processes that got too small to be Chemistry, so now they’re classed as Physics!

Anyway, I hope you found this collection of my main personal thoughts on the sciences interesting and amusing! Please comment with satirical observations of your own and I’ll leave you with this retaliation from the philosophers…

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