By National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Board on Life Sciences, Committee on Defining and Advancing the Conceptual Basis of Biological Sciences in the 21st Century

ISBN-10: 0309112494

ISBN-13: 9780309112499

ISBN-10: 0309112508

ISBN-13: 9780309112505

Even if its significance isn't continually famous, thought is a vital part of all organic learn. Biologists’ theoretical and conceptual frameworks tell each step in their learn, affecting what experiments they do, what thoughts and applied sciences they strengthen and use, and the way they interpret their information. by way of analyzing how concept may also help biologists solution questions like “What are the engineering rules of life?” or “How do cells rather work?” the record indicates how thought synthesizes organic wisdom from the molecular point to the extent of complete ecosystems. The e-book concludes that thought is already an inextricable thread operating in the course of the perform of biology; yet that explicitly giving conception equivalent prestige with different parts of organic study may well support catalyze transformative examine that may bring about inventive, dynamic, and leading edge advances in our figuring out of existence. Committee on Defining and Advancing the Conceptual foundation of organic Sciences within the twenty first Century nationwide examine Council

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Extra info for The Role of Theory in Advancing 21st-Century Biology: Catalyzing Transformative Research

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Developmental biologists look at how the elephant develops from a single fertilized egg, and evolutionary biologists seek the path by which the elephant came to be the way it is. All combine theories, experiments, observations, and inferences to understand something about the elephant. Unlike the blind men, all are well aware that the elephant cannot be explained by its genes, environment, or history alone. ” Detailed research (the “reductionist” approach) will continue to be critically important and productive.

Perhaps even more challenging is the effort to understand enough about other scientific disciplines to know whether the research being done on a specific biological question could inform, advance, or build on research being done outside biology. Key Questions The committee chose to illustrate the role theory can play in answering broad questions in the field of biology and addressing grand challenges for society by developing a set of questions that have relevance across many subdisciplines of biology.

The topic of transformative research was recently the focus of a National Science Board report, Enhancing Support for Transformative Research at the National Science Foundation (May 7, 2007). That report states that “[t]ransformative research is defined as research driven by ideas that have the potential to radically change our understanding of an important existing scientific or engineering concept or leading to the creation of a new paradigm or field of science or engineering. ” This study’s Statement of Task asked the committee to consider whether biology might benefit from an intensive focus on developing theoretical or conceptual foundations: in other words, to consider whether transformative moments would be likely to be driven by a focus on theory.

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The Role of Theory in Advancing 21st-Century Biology: Catalyzing Transformative Research by National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Board on Life Sciences, Committee on Defining and Advancing the Conceptual Basis of Biological Sciences in the 21st Century


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