Each century has been coined by scientific and technological progress
21st Century is going to be the Century of Biology
Scientific progress is based ultimately on unification rather than fragmentation of knowledge. At the threshold of what is widely regarded as the century of biology, the life sciences are undergoing a profound transformation. They have long existed as a collection of narrow disciplines with well-defined territories. Now they are undergoing consolidation, forming two major domains: one extending from the molecule to the organism, and the other extending to the super-organism by bringing together population biology, biodiversity studies, and ecology.
Within each domain, breakthroughs continue to be made, leading to broader understanding. We are now realizing the potential of modern biology as we are consolidating these separate domains. This is leading to an appreciation of life in its full complexity, from the molecule to the biosphere and is capable of generating maximum benefits in industry, medicine, agriculture.
Life Science offers exciting new possibilities
Reproducing organs using stem cells
Merging natural and synthetic tissues
Applying personalised and precision medicine
Repairing genetic disorders and Curing neurodegenerative diseases
Enhancing crops with biotechnologies (e.g. drought resistant plants)
Producing 3rd and 4th generation biofuels
Chemical ecology, for example, a discipline emergent from the joint efforts of ecologists and natural products chemists, is now promising to lay bare the fundamentals of chemical communication in nature, as it exploits a newfound alliance with genome biologists
Functional genomics is ushering in a quantitative and rigorous systems biology, essentially a new integrative physiology anchored in molecular-level understanding
What should I know before starting biology?
If you are curious about biology or plan to study it in the future, you may be wondering what "prerequisites" it has – that is, what other knowledge will give you a solid foundation to learn biology. If so, big kudos for thinking ahead!
In our opinion, the only strict prerequisites for biology are curiosity, an open mind, and a willingness to think critically about the natural world. If you have those, you can start learning biology without other background, as long as you're willing to pick up bits of chemistry, physics, statistics, and math along the way.
That said, you may find your journey through biology smoother and more satisfying if you already have some familiarity with topics in other areas, particularly chemistry.
What if I don't like [chem/physics/stats/math]?
Don't be deterred from biology if some of these topics are not your favorites (yet!). Biology is a huge, diverse field. All biologists need to have some basic, foundational understanding of chemistry, physics, math, and statistics. But they don't have to become specialists in all these topics.
Also, if you had a bad experience with one of these topics in the past, why not give it a shot again? You may find it's more fun than you expect!
The Hidden beauty of pollination
surveys showing that an estimated 20 per cent of start-ups that sprout in their ecosystem tilt towards healthcare and medicine
“We live in a world of convergence. The knowledge of biology for engineers and that of physics and mathematics for biologists are equally important. Without it we cannot create next generation technology,” - IIT Kharagpur director Partha Chakrabarti
For example: In civil engineering, the environmental processes to be followed are in the realm of biology. A mechanical engineer working on prosthetics needs an understanding of biology, etc
Even the IITs across the country are adapting to a new reality. Over the last decade, at least six IITs — Kanpur, Kharagpur, Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Guwahati — have introduced Biology or Life Science as a compulsory course for undergraduate students across engineering branches. At IIT Kharagpur, a compulsory course, namely ‘Science of Living System’, was introduced as early as 2010. It is meant for students of all branches in their second year