What does it mean to “think like a biologist”? To answer this question this course will present a panoramic picture of approaches for handling biological questions.
The first few weeks of the semester will provide a basic introduction to contemporary evolutionary theory and central aspects of genetics. Aftet this introduction we will see especially beutiful examples of bioloigcal thinking. Our illustrations will come from two of the Big Unsolved Questions in biology: the origin of life and the mystery of ageing. For each of the two we will see how the question is attacked as an empirical/experimental (mechanistic), question, a modeling/theoretical or computational question, an evolutionary or compartative question, and as a developmental question.
In addition, studentds will be required to read two popular science books from a list that will be provided.
A short survey of styles of thought in biology can be found in my paper on Biological Understanding.
Please notes that this course is not an introduction to biology (Biology 101) or a survey of the life sciences.