BIOL398-01/S11:Class Journal Week 1

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Before reading.

When I hear the term mathematics, I start to think about numbers, computations and mathematicians. Yes I consider myself a mathematician because I am a student of the study of numbers and I actively use it. Right now, when I hear biology, cells and DNA come to my mind. I actually do not consider myself a biologist because I'm not constantly practicing biology.

After reading.

I personally found it very interesting, how even I, as a math major, was overlooking all the math that surrounds us. People have definitely hidden math so well that it is pretty sad that we do not give it the credit it deserves or are able to see it in action unless we consciously remind ourselves that it is there, like putting those red stickers. I was very intrigued by the biological examples he provided in chapter 6. It is interesting how math is engraved in such a way that it occurs all on its on like the way birds arrange themselves, I did not think much about it whenever I saw it happen, so now I cannot wait to see it happen in real life and become more aware of it.

It was an interesting approach to try to open the mind of the audience to the world of Biology. I really liked how he used really life to demonstrate his point. For example, when he spoke of the non biology students and his approach to help them achieve a biologist's worldview, I thought that was a very interesting method, and apparently very effective.

To be a biologist you have to see the world not only for its beauty but also for its inner workings and developments. You must be sensitive to our surroundings and value each of its creations as a key to solving the ultimate puzzle of what the earth holds and how everything works. Yes I think I can consider myself a biologist because I feel like I embrace the world's beauty and question it as a way to understand how things work.

To be a mathematician you have to be able to recognize that math exists outside of the classroom. You have to be able to recognize patterns and numbers where they are often overlooked. You have to understand the world would not function the way it does without a mathematical model, a set of equations underlying in the background. Finally you must understand that math is not a label, or an amount of money but a lifestyle, one that must be embraced. For that reason I can confidently say I do consider myself a mathematician.

I really liked how both authors help the reader recognize and become more aware of what biology and math surrounds us and hides as the world functions because without it the world would not be the way it is. In the Stewart reading I felt like it was a more cute approach to achieve the ultimate conclusion of math being everywhere while in the Janovy reading, it had a nice and easy to follow through development but sometimes he kind of went on sorts of tangents to achieve his goal about biology.

Carmen E. Castaneda 09:17, 16 January 2011 (EST)

Before reading questions: Stewart:

  1. When I here the term mathematics, numbers automatically come to mind. Anything that has to do with answering problems, patterns, shapes and the logic in answering a question comes to mind. I know that as a math major I have taken courses in math that deal with no numbers just deal with proofs, but proofs never come to mind.
  2. I do consider myself a mathematician because I am studying mathematics and I am able to solve problems that are given to whether they may be analytical or pure (for the courses that i have taken). At the same time though, I do not consider myself a mathematician because I fail to recognize many of the patterns that are in other areas such as biology, chemistry, etc. I d not enjoy the pure side mathematics as much as the applied side. Thus, I consider myself an applied mathematician.


  1. When I hear the term biology, nature and animals are the first to come to mind. It is not until I think abut it a little longer that the cell and microorganisms come to mind. I think that it reflects my interests in the field.
  2. I do not consider myself a biologists. I feel that biology's main focus is doing research and I am more of a social person and want to focus on the healthcare applications of biology.

After reading:

  1. The part that I found most interesting about the Stewart reading is how he is able to relate mathematics to everything in the world. I must admit that even I failed to see how much math is behind the scenes. i would always think about other disciplines such as physics. I know that physics uses equations and that falls under the math category, but Stewart showed how its not just physics is how math and the concepts of physics come together.
  2. The part that I found most interesting was how he tried t show how biologists think. I never really saw it the way he described it as full of values from role models in history. I never thought that the world values would come up in a description of biology since many of the things done in the biological field are said to be "immoral", such a practicing on animals. He gives values a new definition towards nature and towards biologists.
  3. To be a biologists it means that one appreciates how all the puzzle pieces come together to make a beautiful picture. One must appreciate not only the beauty of things, but also how things work. I do consider myself a biologists because I have always been fascinated with life and its inner workings, specially in the world or microorganisms.
  4. To be a mathematician it means that you can see the world through the eyes of mathematics. Math is behind the scenes and only the few people who are interested in the real truth of how things work study mathematics. The information that the world holds about math is enormous and most of the best math problems have not even been solved yet. After reading Stewart, I do consider myself a mathematician. I am intrigued by ho things work and why. i try to see the patterns in nature and what goes into making something run.
  5. These readings were similar in the sense that they both explained biology and mathematics in a world level. they did not focus on specifics very much; they wanted to show how both biology and math are hidden in everything that lives or is in this planet. They differ in their approach of achieving this goal. I feel that the Stewart reading gets to the point and gives an elegant answer to Meg's questions, while Janovy takes a different approach by using examples of his life and the biologists that he knows. Some of his examples are on the far side and it took awhile to grasp what he was saying, but overall they were both really good readings.

Alondra Vega 16:50, 16 January 2011 (EST)