Definition of Science and Branches of Biology
Definition of Science
The word science comes from the Latin term "scientia" meaning knowledge. This knowledge is acquired through a system of study, practice, observation and experimentation to explain problems about nature or any other phenomenon. This knowledge is also based on facts obtained not by guessing or superstitions. At the very core of science are the people or scientists who observe the world or the environment and ask questions and search for answers to these questions.
Branches of Biology
Science is divided into two major branches: natural sciences, the study of natural world and social sciences, the systematic study of human behavior and society. Social sciences include psychology, sociology, history, political science and anthropology. The natural sciences are further classified into the physical and biological sciences. Physical sciences deal with the study of matter and energy and it includes like meteorology, hydrology, oceanology, geography among others.
Biological sciences or Biology is the scientific study of life or more appropriately the study of living things. The two main areas of study in biology are botany and zoology. Botany is the study of plants and zoology is the study of animals. Each of these areas is subdivided into many branches. A partial list is given below:
- Anatomy-study of structure and form of organisms.
- Animal behavior- study of the management and training of wild and domestic animals.
- Bacteriology- study of bacteria.
- Biochemistry- study of chemical substances in living organisms.
- Cytology-study of cells.
- Ecology-study of the relationships of organisms and the environment.
- Embryology-the study of the development of the individual from fertilization to birth.
- Entomology- the study of insects.
- Genetics-the study of heredity and variation.
- Herpetology-the study of reptiles.
- Ichthyology- the study of fishes.
- Malacology-the study of mollusks.
- Microbiology- the study of microbes.
- Mycology-the study of fungi.
- Nutrition- the study of the use and transformation of substances.
- Parasitology- the study of parasites
- Pathology-the study of diseases.
- Phycology- the study of algae.
- Physiology- the study of processes and functions in living things.
- Protozoology- the study of unicellular organisms or protozoans.
- Taxonomy-the study of classification and naming of organisms.
- Virology- the study of viruses.
- Biochemistry - the study of the chemical reactions required for life to exist and function, usually a focus on the cellular level
- Bioengineering - the study of biology through the means of engineering with an emphasis on applied knowledge and especially related to biotechnology.
- Bioinformatics - also classified as a branch of information technology (IT) it is the study, collection, and storage of genomic data
- Biomathematics or Mathematical Biology - the study of biological processes through mathematics, with an emphasis on modeling.
- Biomechanics - often considered a branch of medicine, the study of the mechanics of living beings, with an emphasis on applied use through artificial limbs, etc.
- Biophysics - the study of biological processes through physics, by applying the theories and methods traditionally used in the physical sciences
- Biotechnology - a new and sometimes controversial branch of biology that studies the manipulation of living matter, including genetic modification
Botany - the study of plants
- Cell Biology - the study of the cell as a complete unit, and the molecular and chemical interactions that occur within a living cell.
- Conservation Biology - the study of the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife
- Cryobiology - the study of the effects of lower than normally preferred temperatures on living beings.
- Developmental Biology - the study of the processes through which an organism develops, from zygote to full structure.
- Ecology - the study of the ecosystem as a complete unit, with an emphasis on how species and groups of species interact with other living beings and non-living elements.
- Entomology - the study of insects
- Environmental Biology - the study of the natural world, as a whole or in a particular area, especially as affected by human activity
- Epidemiology - a major component of public health research, it is the study of factors affecting the health and illness of populations
- Ethology - the study of animal behavior.
- Evolution or Evolutionary Biology - the study of the origin and decent of species over time
- Histology - The study of cells and tissue, a microscopic branch of anatomy.
- Mammology - the study of mammals
- Marine Biology - the study of ocean ecosystems, plants, animals, and other living beings.
- Medicine - the study of the human body in health and disease, with allopathic medicine focusing on alleviating or curing the body from states of disease
- Molecular Biology - the study of biology and biological functions at the molecular level, some cross over with biochemistry
- Neurobiology - the study of the nervous system, including anatomy, physiology, even pathology
- Oceanography - the study of the ocean, including ocean life, environment, geography, weather, and other aspects influencing the ocean. See Marine Biology
- Ornithology - the study of birds
- Paleontology - the study of fossils and sometimes geographic evidence of prehistoric life
- Agriculture - study of producing crops from the land, with an emphasis on practical applications