BIOL398-04/S15:Class Journal Week 1

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William A. C. Gendron

Read and Reflect

Before

  1. When you hear the term mathematics, what comes to mind?
    When I hear the term mathematics, my mind goes to all of the classes I hve taken. Ranging from geometry and the basics in high school to the wide variety of classes I have taken at LMU. I think about all of its applications in the world and the abstract world of proofs.
  2. Do you consider yourself a mathematician? why or why not?
    Yes, but I would say most people are to a certain extent. I am more of a mathematician than some, but less so than others. I like to see what math can be used for, but I am less interested in "pure" math. I am only using math as a tool so I would say I am less of a mathematician than others.
  3. When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?
    Many things come to mind when I think of biology. I think about ecology and biology on the larger scale as it deals with multicellular organisms interacting, but also on the smaller scale within bodies or with single celled organisms. It is a much more diverse world to me than mathematics, because I see every single specific field of study as a world unto its own.
  4. Do you consider yourself a biologist? why or why not?
    Yes for many reasons. This field has contributed to how I think. Problem solving in biology and the opportunity to create in this field seems infinite. I greatly enjoy participating in this field. Additionally, I have already done research in this field and plan to continue doing so.

After

  1. What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?
    Stewart brings up the idea that everything can be defined by mathematics. It is quite crazy to think that we can define so much with a construct that we created. It is quite powerful in a way. I wonder to what extent it will be applied. I remember reading a couple articles about analyzing peoples brains and thereby being able to calculate how much we care about others or what we find to be more morally despicable in a quantitative way. It is a somewhat scary concept.

I already knew about the other aspects such as the amount mathematicians make and its uses.

  1. What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Janovy reading?
    This piece really spoke to me. My whole childhood was spent chasing after insects and watching spiders. I even somehow convinced my dad to get me a tarantula as a pet as a child, despite his fear of spiders(He has since made a recovery from this fear). I guess I always knew that this is why I want to explore the biological world, but I had never really seen it articulated by others in this way.
  2. What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    It is the desire to understand nature. This person is always asking questions and trying to think of new ways to discover some new part of the natural world. To be a good biologist is to be able to ask the right questions, understand what tools to use and observe the natural world around you. I would consider myself a biologist. I often catch myself asking many new questions about the biological world, either after observations or being informed of a new study.
  3. What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    I would say that this has not altered my definition except that it showed that there was a connection to all aspects of life. In a sense everyone is a mathematician, to a more or lesser extent. We need it for everything that we do.
  4. What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?
    I noticed that these descriptions expanded beyond what careers people take and focus on the desire to understand things. In many ways mathematicians and biologists are driven similarly. Both want to explain the world. Biologist take a natural focused approach while mathematics is a bit broader. The style of the articles is what made the real distinction. These articles had different target audiences. Stewart was talking to students, looking more towards the future of mathematics and discussing his experience while Janovy was discussing the development of biologists in general.

(William A. C. Gendron 03:03, 20 January 2015 (EST))

Lauren M. Magee

Reflection Questions

Before reading the Stewart chapters (on your honor), answer the following questions;

  1. When you hear the term mathematics, what comes to mind?
    • When I think of the term "mathematics" I think of the two types of mathematics: pure and applied. While both types of math are essential and applicable to situations in the world around us, I find applied math to be a lot more engaging. Applied math encompasses so many everyday occurrences from adding up prices in a grocery store to deciding whether or not to bring an umbrella with you to work based off of the percent chance of rain for the day. Personally, because I may be obsessed with statistics, when I think of "math" I think of the applicable nature of statistics and it's invisible presence in our day to day lifestyle.
  2. Do you consider yourself a mathematician? why or why not?
    • I definitely do consider myself to be a mathematician, because whether I like it or not, I am constantly working with numbers. As I stated above, there are many ways in which mathematical practices infiltrate our daily routines and we don't even realize it. Besides being a Biomathematics major and being required to take a variety of math courses, I realize what a huge presence math has outside of the classroom as well.

Before reading the Janovy chapter (on your honor), answer the following questions;

  1. When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?
    • When I hear the term "biology", I automatically think of it's literally definition: the study of life. Biology is a field comprised of so many different components, but they all stem from the same question: what is life?
  2. Do you consider yourself a biologist? why or why not?
    • I do consider myself to be a biologist, because I am a studier of life. In addition to my lab experience, I study life through simple observations as well. The formal lab environment allows us to observe life system in a contained and controlled environment, but we must never forget the importance of using the outside world as our laboratory as well. We must constantly be making observations and attempting to understand the world around us.

After reading the Stewart and Janovy chapters, answer the following questions:

  1. What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?
    • I found Meg asking whether she would have to give up her sense of beauty to study mathematics to be very interesting. I had never considered that when I began studying mathematics at the university level, but it does make sense when considering societies view of mathematics. Stewart's response was that he actually had experienced the opposite effect. Mathematics hasn't forced him to give up his sense of beauty, instead it has redefined it. He now sees nature's laws and patterns, which adds a new dimension to beauty.
  2. What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Janovy reading?
    • I found the similarities Janovy established between religion and biology to be the most thought provoking. I think religion and biology are often portrayed as competing ideologies and to believe in one is to reject the other. However, I appreciate Janovy's perspective in noting that the nature of believing in both fields functions "to direct behavior and maintain values".
  3. What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    • A biologist is one that studies life, but in a natural context. They remain curious of their environment, constantly growing in their questioning and intrigue. Biologists use their natural observational skills to draw hypotheses, which can be tested for a possible conclusion. I do consider myself to be a biologist, for the same reasons I stated prior to reading this article.
  4. What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    • Stewart identifies mathematicians as the invisible producers, who are responsible for all of the machinery that we have become accustomed to having in our daily routine. Mathematicians don't train for a specific job, unlike those in medicine or law, and instead they are opened up to a wide variety of employment opportunities. There are so many societal system that depend on mathematical practices, yet they are not widely advertised to the public, so their presence becomes undetectable. As I said in my "before" answer, I do consider myself to be a mathematician for the same reasons I previously stated.
  5. What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?
    • Both articles identify the common misconceptions about biologists and mathematicians. They both note that these labels are not impossible to obtain and they don't necessarily require a prestigious degree. The characteristics of both groups lie in the mind of the individual, which opens them up to accepting members of all ages, genders, races, and so forth. The Stewart articles were more informal, as they were written as letters of advice to a prospective math student. The Janovy article was focused more on describing the nature of biology and how it has transformed over the centuries of development.

Lauren M. Magee 02:50, 20 January 2015 (EST)

Lucia I. Ramirez

Reflection Questions

Before reading the Stewart chapters:

When you hear the term mathematics, what comes to mind?

  • For me, complex and multivariable equations come to mind. A convoluted puzzle made out of numbers and variables, where arithmetic symbols and operations can be used to solve the puzzle come to mind. Also, a person who simply likes thinking quantitatively comes to mind.

Do you consider yourself a mathematician? why or why not?

  • I would consider myself a mathematician because I enjoy numerical computations, just not as a professional mathematician. I think being a mathematician could be as simple as calculating for the tip percentage after dinner at a restaurant or as abstract as proving that zero can equal to one. I, as a current electrical engineering student, apply my math skills to understand and solve engineering problems.

Before reading the Janovy chapter:

When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?

  • What comes to mind is its own definition: the study of life, along with all the beautiful imagery seen on National Geographic and even in my day-to-day life. I think that it not only explains all the components that make up life but also explains how all these components interact with each other, which to me is amazing.

Do you consider yourself a biologist? why or why not?

  • I wouldn't consider myself a biologist because I don't know much about the subject. Besides having taken one biology course in high school and two more in college, I don't think I know enough to consider myself a biologist. But, on the other end, I would really like to see how mathematicians collaborate with biologist in order to obtain a better understanding of how life works, especially being able to visualize what has been discovered in the micro level.

After reading the Stewart and Janovy chapters:

What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?

  • Math gave Steward a new definition to beauty, a different lenses to look at life. It was interesting to read why mathematicians are known as being unsuccessful; it's simply because they work behind the scenes. In reality, everything exists with the help of math.

What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Janovy reading?

  • I found it interesting how social construct can mold your career, in particular when trying to convince a funding institution that your area of research is worth investing. After reading this chapter, I realized how wide the range of research is for a biologist, all trying to understand the complexity of the interactions among organisms. I also found it interesting what Janovy mentioned about the educational system. Schools have taught students how to use scientific tools, but not necessarily helped develop a student to think like a naturalist or gain a worldview on biology.

What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?

  • To be a biologist means to know when and how to ask the right questions, to observe with a critical eye, and then, it's understanding how to use scientific tools. After reading this chapter, I would say I am a biologist because I observe and question the interactions of nature I see around me.

What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?

  • I would consider myself to be a mathematician because to be a mathematician means to be curious and to see nature in a different light. It means to ask not only know how things work but also ask why.

What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?

  • Stewart and Janovy both talk about the importance of observing the nature and life happening around you. Their curiosity has grown from their own interest instead of being influenced by society's view of success. Their curiosity has motivated them to continue on their search for how organisms interact and the beauty in their patterns. Stewart's approach was more personal and directed to a student, when Janovy was speaking to a general, older audience.

Lucia I. Ramirez 02:47, 20 January 2015 (EST)

Natalie Williams

Reflection

Before reading the Stewart chapters:

  1. When you hear the term mathematics, what comes to mind?
    • When I think of mathematics, I think of numbers. Puzzles. Logic. I think of patterns. Sequences. Problems. I also see the beauty of mathematics in nature. It is everywhere but disguised as music or how plants and microscopically cells grow and develop - harmonic frequencies and the golden ratio respectively.
  2. Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    • Having a natural curiosity about the world around an individual allows someone to call him or herself a scientist. I fall into that category in that I love learning. Therefore, I am a mathematician in the fact that I look at what is around me and search for patterns that numbers and equations can explain the world around me.

Before reading the Janovy chapter:

  1. When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?
    • Hearing biology, I think life, specifically cells and how their interactions create thousands of different multicellular and unicellular organisms. Biology applies to every once or currently living thing. The subject continues to develop and broaden as new discoveries occur.
  2. Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    • Like I said before, having a natural curiosity about the world around you and how it works enables you to call yourself a scientist. I am a biologist despite the fact that I am a Biology major because I search for the reason why things in nature occur. Furthermore, the use of evidence which could be quantitative or qualititative suggests that biological theories need support to be regarded as true.

After reading Stewart and Janovy

  1. What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?
    • Stewart’s words were profound and relatable. When Stewart mentions that math is everywhere, but as a society we try to hide it, he wrote something that I have been thinking for a while. Our society tends to devalue not only math but also the accomplishments that we have achieved through math. So many industries rely on math, which necessitates the subject and the knowledge that mathematicians possess. Plus, I enjoy that Stewart mentions math can be seen in nature. However, his examples differed from the ones that I used. I liked how he discusses the birds that line up on a telephone pole and the movements of dogs’ legs as their pace changes.
  2. What did you find most interesting or provocative bout the Janovy reading?
    • I find it Interesting that he says that enrolling and taking science courses doesn't define the student as being a biologist; rather, the student has to figure it out on his or her own as well as interpret the motives of the professors and why they are being taught in a specific manner.
    • When he distinguishes between “do” and “am”, Janovy hits the mark. The use of “am” encompasses the being, there is no separation; while “do” suggests a separation between the participant and the activity. I also thought that the author’s opinion about biologists was accurate in that they look at the processes or just what surrounds them in general. They want to better understand what goes on around them as well as how humans and all the thousands of other organisms interact and exist on Earth. I also found it Interesting that he states that people mistake technology with science.
  3. What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    • To be a biologist means to have an attachment to the living world and the millions of species on the planet. As a biologist, one sees nature fully and realizes that humans compete with other organisms for limited resources on this Earth. I believe I am a biologist because I am aware of the world around me and the various species that humans harm every day. Although I want to be a neurosurgeon - focusing on humans - I tend to look outward toward nature. Nature not only holds beauty but it holds key information as to how and why the world works. I wish to discover some of those phenomena and patterns.
  4. What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    • To be a mathematician encompasses details and logic. They are professionals and experts in their specific math field; yet they are still students, learning more from the subject as they continue to study it. Mathematicians want to know not only how, but why things work the way they do. They look for patterns in nature and natural phenomena that math can explain. Although I have not done years worth of research with math or have studied mathematical theories deeply, I still consider myself a mathematician. The fact that I want equations and expressions that can explain patterns in nature lets me call myself a mathematician.
  5. What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?
    • Both subjects discuss nature and how nature incorporates biology and mathematics. The patterns seen in nature can be explained and expressed mathematically while the various processes that life depends upon are studied in biology. Furthermore, both readings highlight that being a biologist or a mathematician doesn’t rely on possessing knowledge of the inner workings of those fields, but having a natural curiosity and determination to understand how the world around us works. The authors both mention that their peers who studied biology or mathematics have careers outside of their schooling - jobs are limitless as far opportunities go.
    • A difference between the readings is that Janovy writes ways in which one can become a biologist. He also makes a distinction about today’s biologists - we have knowledge and the technology, but we tend to lack the naturalists’ points of view. Janovy’s excerpt tells a story not about himself but of those who influenced him and how it affected him and his way of thinking. Stewart’s two excerpts are written to someone explaining his personal beliefs and reasons to why he chose the study mathematics.


Natalie Williams 14:21, 19 January 2015 (EST)


Back to Natalie's Journal Entrys

Kristen M. Horstmann

Reflections

  • When you hear the term mathematics, what comes to mind?
    • I think of numbers, of course, and the way that we are able to manipulate them in order to solve a puzzle and apply a more logical approach on many aspects of the world. The "if x, then y" outlook comes to mind, a black-and-white, strictly right-or-wrong characteristic of math that people either love or hate.
  • Do you consider yourself a mathematician? why or why not?
    • Although I probably am a mathematician under the strictest definition of the word, it would be hard for me to describe myself as such at this point in my life. Yes, I am a student of mathematics and know more math than the average person, but the word "mathematician" brings to mind the awe of hearing of pure geniuses whose names have been so present in the class. When I hear mathematician, I think of Leipzig, Newton, Fibonacci, people who have been immortalized by their discoveries in a difficult subject. Personally, I feel that title is much too prestigious for me.
  1. When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?
    • Of course, the term "the study of life" comes to mind because that's been hammered in our minds since we were kids. Cells, cell function, and microbiology is probably the first subject that I think of because it's such an integral part of biology overall. But after that, I think of the ecosystems, ecology, organisms and how they interact and evolve.
  2. Do you consider yourself a biologist? why or why not?
    • I would consider a biologist someone who uses the scientific method with their own observations on the world around them. So yes, I guess I would consider myself a biologist due to having a natural curiosity of how things, especially natural beings, work around me. Even if it's something like wondering why an animal is the way it is, or how a biological process works, thinking about it, then googling it to see if you're right is putting research into a topic you're genuinely trying to figure out. This is not unlike what real biologists do, although they'll use their own research or their peers' instead of Google. As someone with a true interest in what's happening around me and a drive to figure it out somehow, I guess I would consider myself a biologist.
  1. What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?
    • I thought the concept of how "hiding math" makes people feel more comfortable because most can't understand the complexity of that math. But hiding the math makes people forget how useful it is and how it is an integral part to the world and the STEM advancements. Just because math is hidden within more glorified aspects of technology does not mean it is a dying subject in any way. I never really thought about how this was due to general discomfort from society. I loved the section about how the author felt that people who think math and logic diminishes the emotional experience are the ones who are lacking in curiosity. I think there's the stereotype that people in logical majors and professions can't be creative or have beautiful thoughts, which isn't necessarily true.
  2. What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Janovy reading?
    • I really enjoyed how Janovy talked about how we share a genetic bond with even the strangest, rarest creatures on earth. I thought this was scientifically important, as it's somewhat a proof of evolution, but I also felt like it could be emotionally pertinent, as we need to remember that we share this bond with the earth, and care for it keeping in mind that we are somehow connected with every being on it and to hold the very characteristic of life with respect. I also thought the author's observations of what non-biologists consider "legitimate" or not seems to lay solely on if the biology affects humans or not. Pure research for the sake of research of random animals, is therefore, not "legitimate" if it doesn't seem to advance humanity. I had never really thought of people considering biology and the study of organisms around us- and not affecting humans yet- as a silly or useless career.
  3. What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    • To be a biologist is to be aware of the world around you and to have the state of mind that observes how natural beings are working. I would still tentatively consider myself a biologist due to being curious about how the world works and by using the resources around me to try to figure out the questions I observe around me.
  4. What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    • Being a mathematician is simply one who is studying or has a profession in mathematics. I believe I am a mathematician due to the many, many math classes I have taken above the average undergrad level. But I would still hesitate to call myself one because I still feel like that is such an honorable title that I, personally, feel like is reserved for experts who have seriously contributed to the field. But due to the definition of the world, yes I am a mathematician.
  5. What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?
    • The main difference between the two readings is that Janovy discusses on how to develop the mindset of a biologist and how to be a better biologist by being more observant about the world around us, and by caring more about our fellow organisms by becoming more of a naturalist. Stewart discusses more about who is a mathematician and how each aspect of the world somehow still uses math. They are similar in that they discuss the subject and how it is more applicable to the world around us than what the average person thinks. For example, the world doesn't always think about how much math is to put into flying an airplane or think about how much valuable genetic research comes from studying tropical frogs. However, biologists/mathematicians realize this and appreciate it. Both authors also briefly mentioned how math and bio work with each other, like all the math that was put into selecting the best crops.

Kristen M. Horstmann 15:20, 19 January 2015 (EST)

Kara M. Dismuke

Answers to Reflection Questions

Before reading the Stewart chapters (on your honor)....

  • When you hear the term mathematics, what comes to mind?
    • When I hear "mathematics," I think of logic and objectivity. I think of how it is systematized and at how at its core, it is about problem solving.
  • Do you consider yourself a mathematician? why or why not?
    • Though I am a math major, no, I do not consider myself a "mathematician." For some reason in my mind, that term is reserved for people who make meaningful contributions to the field of mathematics (as opposed to someone such as myself who more of a student and practitioner of math.)

Before reading the Janovy chapter (on your honor)...

  • When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?
    • When I hear "biology," I think of life. I think of this huge world and the countless number of systems (each unique and varying in complexity) which function each day to enable life, as we know, to exist and flourish.
  • Do you consider yourself a biologist? why or why not?
    • I do not consider myself a biologist, because I have not made meaningful contributions to the field of biology, and, furthermore, my knowledge of biology is limited.

After reading the Stewart and Janovy chapters, answer the following questions:

  • What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?
    • The part of the Stewart reading that resonated the most with me was his discussion regarding people's desire (or lack thereof) to understand what is going on in the world (mathematically speaking). People want to turn their car on, so he says, and just have it work. They don't want to understand why. I love that math works "behind the scenes" to address the "why".
  • What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Janovy reading?
    • What I found most interesting about the Stewart reading was his condensed and comprehensive his analysis of biology. He talked about a belief in a common bond (of all life), the power and responsibility we have as humans, the role values play, the role personal identity plays, the complexity and uniformity of biology, and a sense of wonder (among many other topics). I liked that instead of focusing on particular facets of biology, he, instead, looked at it from a holistic standpoint so as to help the reader understand how biology fits into the larger picture.
  • What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    • I still maintain that to be a biologist, one must contribute in some way to the field of biology. But, I do think through an appreciation and valuing of human life as well as an observant and curious nature, anyone can be on his way to becoming a biologist. I still do not consider myself a biologist, but I do think I can work towards becoming one by honing the necessary skills of biology.
  • What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    • I think to be a mathematician one must do more than solve problems correctly. Being a mathematician, in my opinion, requires a specific mindset- one that can step back from solving problems and see both the beauty and application of mathematical concepts.
  • What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?
    • Both readings take a step back from their particular study of focus and seek to place them in a large-scale understanding of reality (specifically nature). They both appeal to people who aren't necessarily attracted to study biology or mathematics. While the articles were similar they did focus on different areas of study and so, had several differences. In the Janovy reading, biology is presented as a means to better understanding what exists whereas mathematics seeks more to use what exist (granted, it can also be done for its own sake). In addition, Janovy wrote more from an autobiographical standpoint whereas Stewart wrote in letter form.
  • Please feel free to read and respond to your classmates' answers.

--Kara M Dismuke 22:09, 18 January 2015 (EST)


Alyssa N Gomes

Answers to Reflection Questions

Before reading the Stewart chapters (on your honor)....

  • When you hear the term mathematics, what comes to mind?
    • When I hear the term mathematics, I think of numbers and abstract theories about dimensions. I think about how these theories display why we are able to compute the simplest tasks with our numbers.
  • Do you consider yourself a mathematician? why or why not?
    • I consider myself a mathematician in the college worlds, where I can compare myself to other students of varying majors and degrees. Compared to them, yes, I seem to know a lot about math. When I think about the world at large, however, I do not consider myself a mathematician, because there is still so much about math I do not understand. I still struggle with proofs and being able to go beyond what someone else has already proved and share something new with the math community.

Before reading the Janovy chapter (on your honor)...

  • When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?
    • When I hear the term biology, I think of my Bio 101 class that I have taken. I think of how every process that occurs naturally in life, really is a deeply complex process that we still have so much more to discover.
  • Do you consider yourself a biologist? why or why not?
    • I do not consider myself a biologist because I have only taken a Bio 101 lecture class with the level 1 lab. Although I have taken those classes, I admit that for me, at the time I studied for the grades, not for the further knowledge on biology.

After reading the Stewart and Janovy chapters, answer the following questions:

  • What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?
    • Within the Stewart reading, I found it so interesting how many examples he was able to list off. He listed quite the range of complex descriptions of math in rainbows, dog walking and robotics. But he ended by simply stating the easy ways to use math, just using multiplication to count lights. It's interesting how things that we, as mathematicians, may see so easily, others do not. I find when I am bored in class, sometimes I will count the tiles by multiplication as well. But maybe that's just because I am a math major.
  • What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Janovy reading?
    • The Janovy reading was really interesting because of the "I do--I am" segment. We are in such a world where everything is defined by the monetary value of our job and the goal to have a great job after college. But Janovy touches light on the fact that you do not need to have a Biology job to "do" biology. You do not even need to be a science major. You "do" biology because you want to learn more. We have evolved from such a time where we learn because we want to and instead are now learning, because we have to, for the sake of our future. In such a competitive world where a bachelor's degree is starting not to mean as much as well, why should that stop any of us from learning more? On our own we can study Mentos and Pepsi mixed together. We do not need anything but our own inquisitive open mind.
  • What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    • To be a biologist is to want to unravel more about what we consider to be the simple things of life. Janovy discusses how webroke beyond the idea of naturalists, and have moved instead to evolution. As technology and our own inquisitive minds continue to expand, we break barriers. As long as we keep on attempting to explore the unknown about how "life" works, we are all biologists. As a math major, because Stewart's readings were able to relate math to so much around us, I am a biologist. Even when I am a math major, I am a biologist, because I remain excited to learn more and relate these math theories to the world and break those new barriers.
  • What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    • Being a mathematician means to see patterns. Seeing patterns in everything will most likely turn out to be a math form of some sort. Seeing as I count tiles, on ceilings, seeing as I play Sudoku for fun, there are so many ways I personally perform math every day without noticing it. So if you define a mathematician as a successful researcher, actuary or professor, no I am not (yet) a mathematician. But if you are defining a mathematician as one who does tasks involving math, yes I am a mathematician.
  • What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?
    • Both Stewart and Janovy's readings opened my eyes to the definitions of biologist and mathematician. They both relayed how we are able to use biology and math to everything around us. Other majors, such as within the business school, can be reated to all things business-like and involving corporations, but biology and math are relatable to anything and everything. Both are hiding behind every major, in some way or another. However, the difference I noticed between the two readings was that Janovy's readings seem to explain how our own inquisitive minds lead to us to take a big picture and break it into many pieces to understand how and why the big things work. In this way, we see the human. We know how humans work, but how exactly do we work? In contract, Stewart's readings seem to cover more of how we see these little pieces, such as the dog's right front leg, left hind leg, right hind leg, left front leg, all can come together to understand the pattern as a whole. In other terms, we are using multiple smaller pieces to say something as a whole. Both require inquisitive minds, but we use them differently, according to Stewart and Janovy.

Alyssa N Gomes 23:36, 19 January 2015 (EST)

Tessa A. Morris

Response to Reflection Questions

Before reading the Stewart chapters

  1. When I hear the term mathematics, I think about the applications of mathematics that I've learned over the last few years taking different math classes. Mathematics is such a broad subject that any person can find something they find interesting. I personally find the applied classes, such as statistics and differential equations, to be the most interesting.
  2. I do not consider myself a mathematician because I feel like there is still so much that I do not yet understand about mathematics. I also think of a mathematician who is interested and trained in the theory of math, or pure mathematics.

Before reading the Janovy chapter

  1. When I hear the term biology, I think about the study of life, but on a cellular level. I think about the elegance of the cells of the human body and how everything seems to somehow work together to sustain life.
  2. I do not consider myself a biologist. I have had more training in the field of chemistry than in the field of biology, and am just beginning to take more biology courses.

After reading the Stewart and Janovy chapters

  1. The part I found most provocative about the Stewart reading is how he explained in the first chapter that mathematics is applicable even on a day to day basis. He explained that there should be a label on everything that "contains math" and how that label would be on almost everything, from computers to vegetables. The explanation that math is everywhere makes the subject seem more useful and relevant to the average person who has no interest in mathematics, science, or engineering.
  2. The part I found most interesting about the Janovy reading, was the sense of accountability that comes with being a biologist. Janovy explained that when studying biology, you become more and more aware of the power that we as humans have over the rest of the world.
  3. To be a biologist means being aware and curious about the world around us. Under this definition, I would consider myself a biologist because I am interested in learning more about the world around us and how we can live sustainably.
  4. To be a mathematician means studying mathematics on some sort of advanced level. By this definition, I would consider myself a mathematician, because I have taken quite a few math classes over the last few years at LMU.
  5. Both the Janovy and the Stewart readings made their respective subjects seem more accessible. Both mathematics and biology are subjects that are extremely intimidating subjects and the readings attempted to get rid of the idea that the subjects are only for people who have superhuman intelligence. The Janovy reading focused more on the ethical dilemmas that come with study biology and becoming more aware of the world. The Stewart reading explained the applications of mathematics to the world around us and how it is truly present in everything.

Tessa A. Morris 00:46, 2 February 2015 (EST)

Karina Alvarez

Reflection Responses

  • When you hear the term 'mathematics,' what comes to mind?
    • I think of algebra more than anything equations, applications, or other classes classes. I do not think of any specific professions or people, but instead think of the moments when I first became interested in math.
  • Do you consider yourself a mathematician? why or why not?
    • I do not explicitly consider myself a mathematician, but I believe that that definition varies from person to person. I would identify individuals whose main career is rooted in mathematics as a mathematician, but there are certainly many careers requiring math that do not label their workers as mathematicians. I think that my interests are not rooted in math, but look to use it as a tool for my work, and therefore do not primarily identify as a mathematician.

Before reading the Janovy chapter (on your honor), answer the following questions;

  • When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?
    • I think of an individual eukaryotic cell, then think of its mitochondria, a nucleus, ribosomes, and other cell parts. I then think of all of the different processes that have to go on in order for a living system to work, and how unique Earth is to be able to host organisms as complex as the ones that inhabit it.
  • Do you consider yourself a biologist? why or why not?
    • I do consider myself a biologist because it is biology that guides the work that I do, I believe, the most. It is because of my understanding and passion for biology that I initially became fascinated with environmental issues and protecting the life on the planet.
  • What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?
    • Stewart does an excellent job of reminding us the prevalence of math everyday, even though it is not where citizens may always see it. Nevertheless, it is present in almost everything that we do, own, eat, and inhabit. My favorite part was the the way he makes a rainbow come alive not with flowery language, but through math. He proves that math does not reduce the beauty of things through objectivity.
  • What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Janovy reading?
    • Janovy discusses the gap between what students learn in school, as in the scientific method, and what he students apply it toward. He argues that students are not biologists if they just own the tools that a biologist owns, and I agree. Students must also be guided to how the tools would fit into the grander scheme of the world's biological systems.
  • What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    • Being a biologist means to connect to the life forms around you, regardless of their usefulness or perceived relevance to humans. I do consider myself a biologist because I feel this connection and it is what drives me to do what I do.
  • What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    • Being a mathematician is anyone that uses mathematics. This definition did change for me compared to my definition before the reading. Even without a degree, I use math daily to problem solve. Mathematicians are not restricted to labs or classrooms - mathematicians are unique in that they are dispersed in every field.
  • What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?
    • While Stewart approaches math from the angle of someone who wouldn't be interested in math, Janovy approached biology from the angle of someone who misunderstands what a biologist is. However, the two both expand the typical definitions of a these fields and make the reader aware of the interdisciplinary nature of both fields. In addition, both use their fields to not only better understand our surroundings, but to also appreciate them more.

Jeffrey Crosson

Before reading the Stewart chapters (on your honor), answer the following questions:

  • When you hear the term mathematics, what comes to mind?
    • A pure numerical system of logic that is used to predict patterns, organize data, quantify things, and more.
  • Do you consider yourself a mathematician? why or why not?
    • No, as I do not have very extensive knowledge and do not intimately work with it. However, as a mechanical engineering, physics, and math student, one could say I am an applied mathematician.

Before reading the Janovy chapter (on your honor), answer the following questions:

  • When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?
    • A vast collection of information on the scientific nature of living organisms and the study of this information and the beings that it describes.
  • Do you consider yourself a biologist? why or why not?
    • No, as I do not have extensive knowledge on the subject nor am I studying it for my degree.

After reading the Stewart and Janovy chapters, answer the following questions:

  • What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?
    • Some of the specific examples of mathematics in life that he mentioned that I haven’t thought about, as I’ve already thought about its presence in everything and most of the examples he provided.
  • What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Janovy reading?
    • How passionate biologists can become for specific species of organisms and how knowing about specific species can open the doors to enlightenment in other realms.
  • What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    • One needs to make an original observation in nature and then construct a coherent interpretation of the matter at hand. I don’t consider myself to be a biologist, because I don’t extensively study it.
  • What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    • One who theorizes, interprets, studies, and uses mathematics beyond everyday math. I guess I’m an applied mathematician, but not as adept as I will be in the future.
  • What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?
    • The mathematics readings is concise and discusses the utility, beauty, and prevalence of mathematics. Whereas the biology reading is more drawn out and discusses more societal aspects, the characteristics of the field, and the ways of thinking in biology. They both discuss the characteristics of the people who work in these fields.

Jeffrey Crosson 5:28, 27 January 2015 (EST)