What is Biology?

Science matters, and that's why we put a lot of thought into our book's opening chapter. To us, science isn't just another subject, like French or American History. It's a way of knowing about the world, and it's the tool that has helped to make the modern world as we know it. Since we are living things ourselves, Biology, the study of life, should be a natural for you and your classmates.

In some ways, science today is big business, and that's even true for Biology, the science of life. An awful lot of Biological research is carried out in large institutions like pharmaceutical companies, universities, and government labs. Some of it requires expensive, specialized equipment, and some studies can only be carried out in exotic locations. But the truth is that most of the really interesting questions in Biology don't require much more than what you'll find in your school lab, or what you'll see in the world around you as you walk or ride to school every day. Putting it another way, you've always been part of the story of Biology.

Why Biology Matters

In many ways, we believe that the 21st Century will be the century of Biology. Our goal in Chapter 1 was to give you a sense of this by showing just a bit of the breadth and depth of the subject. We also tried to point out the ways in which Biology matters to society, and how the scientific method works. We especially hope that you'll take the time to explore the Understanding Science web site and to think about the many ways in which science affects your life every day. Good Luck, and welcome to our textbook!