Desireegonzalez Week 1

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Stewart Before Reading Questions:

  1. When you hear the term mathematics, what comes to mind?
    • When I hear the term mathematics, the first thing that comes to mind are numbers, equations, variables, and strict "correct" answers. I associate mathematics with difficult concepts that take time and practice to commit to memory for future use in solving problems.
  2. Do you consider yourself a mathematician? why or why not?
    • I partially consider myself a mathematician. I do not believe that I am fully a mathematician because I still struggle with some math concepts, and only really use math to do dilutions and alter ratios in the laboratory when working on collecting data for my independent research.

Janovy Before Reading Questions

  1. When you hear the term biology, what comes to mind?
    • When I hear the term biology, the first thing that comes to mind is my major. I automatically associate the term biology to medicine since I am studying to go into medical school after graduating from LMU. Biology also brings to mind various living organisms that are built up of cells, which in turn are made up of organelles. Biology for me symbolizes the simple and yet intricate mechanisms that help life exist.
  2. Do you consider yourself a biologist? why or why not?
    • I do consider myself a biologist because I have a strong knowledge of science and enjoy taking the time to look at the "how" and "why" of all living things around me. I also consider myself a biologist because my passion for science is depicted by my major, future career path, and independent research. I am a biologist since I view everything around me through the eyes of science.

Stewart and Janovy After Reading Questions

  1. What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Stewart reading?
    • The thing that I found most interesting about the Stewart reading was the strong love of mathematics that could easily be felt being given off by the author based on the way he explained the importance of mathematics in society. I was initially surprised to see such enthusiasm related to mathematics since I myself do not have such a strong love toward the subject and have not recognized such a level of awe coming from my professors when sitting in a math class. In addition to the enthusiastic view of math, I was intrigued by the connections of mathematics to science subjects and communication; I had never reflected on the fact that math (disguised as phone lines and satellite relays) helps me keep in touch with my family in other states.
  2. What did you find most interesting or provocative about the Janovy reading?
    • The concept that I found most interesting from the Janovy reading was his belief that biology is not equal to technology. I had to ponder this ideology for a bit, because I like Janovy stated in the chapter, had integrated the ideas of science and technology together. I believe that this mental integration of technology with science has occurred because of the laboratory experience I have had. I believe that Janovy is correct in stating that the new and easily accessible tools of technology for newer generations have both been a benefit for skills and an impediment to critical thinking. I myself have noticed that sometimes in lab I focus more on the technical mechanisms of a laboratory experiment, when I should also be taking into consideration the true biological mechanisms and importance of the work the machine (like a gel electrophoresis for example) is doing.
  3. What does it mean to be a biologist? Do you consider yourself a biologist? Why or why not?
    • After doing the Stewart and Janovy readings, I believe that being a biologist means that a person has an integrative outlook on life. This biologist view incorporates, as Janovy described, the naturalist and educational views of life. From my understanding of the reading the naturalist view seems to be more focused on using a more observational and reflective standpoint to understand the how and why of things/organisms in the surroundings. The educational view of biology in the reading seemed to be surrounding the idea that knowing a specific subject or laboratory technique is of far greater importance due to its connection to success in a future career. I do consider myself a biologist, because I believe that I am proficient in seeing the world through both an intellectual and more speculative manner as Janovy described in his writings.
  4. What does it mean to be a mathematician? Do you consider yourself a mathematician? Why or why not?
    • To be a mathematician is to view all aspects of life through its connection to math. Being a mathematician requires viewing the world as a collection of intricate details and patterns that all occur for a given reason. According to what I understood from the readings, mathematicians do not leave any explanations to chance; all the small technicalities in life have a purpose. After reading Stewart, I believe that I am a bit more of a mathematician than I initially believed. Like Stewart stated, I have been able to make observations in my surrounding environment and have connected them to a specific symbolic meaning or value.
  5. What are the similarities and differences between the two readings?
    • Both readings showed the interconnection of either biology (for the Janovy readings) or math (for the Stewart readings) to everything that surrounds us and makes up the universe. I believe that Stewart's readings were a bit more vague in their definition of mathematics. Where as Janovy's readings seemed to linger around a more finite definition of the broad concept of biology. Janovy's definition of biology emphasized the integration of both a hands-on approach and a more analytical thought-process, to be used to view the world.


Dahlquist, K. & Fitzpatrick, B.G. (2019). Biomathematical Modeling Week 1 Assignment Page

Janovy, J. (2004) On Becoming a Biologist (2nd ed.), Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, pp. 1-33.

Stewart, I. (2007). Letters to a Young Mathematician, New York, NY: Basic Books, pp. 1-10, 45-53.


I spoke face to face with my homework partner Austin and another classmate Ava, before starting the assignment to figure out how we would be posting the journal articles on our pages. We clarified confusions we had about using the OpenWetWare website. Except for what is noted above, this individual journal entry was completed by me and not copied from another source.Desireegonzalez (talk) 18:52, 23 January 2019 (PST)