Explain in simple words how mathematics and physics are used in biology and medicine and how well do you need to know biology for this?

Explain in simple words how mathematics and physics are used in biology and medicine and how well do you need to know biology for this?

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answers (2)

Answer 1
June, 2021

Eugene's answer is very good and almost complete, I will supplement it with only examples from other biological and medical disciplines. In medicine, as well as in neurobiology, various methods of bioimaging are widely used - using the physical properties of the material under study (most often, optical properties) to get an idea of ​​its structure and functioning. When calculating the number, density of settlement of any living organisms, calculating migrations, as well as for appropriate forecasts, a serious mathematical apparatus is needed. When conducting experiments that imply the presence of a sample, an analysis of errors, the nature of the distribution of results on scales, etc. is carried out. There are special programs that make these tasks easier for those who are more friendly with biology than with mathematics. As for the question of how well one should know biology in order to engage in research of this kind - in my opinion, deep, detailed knowledge concerning the subject of study is necessary - at least.

Answer 2
June, 2021

Mathematics and physics are very actively used in biology. There is a special section of biology - biophysics. The subject of study there is, for example, the interaction and work of biomolecules (DNA, proteins, lipids) from the point of view of physics, not chemistry. How is the charge distributed on these molecules, how this charge affects the structure of the molecule, its interaction with other molecules. With the help of physics and mathematics, the dynamics of enzymes in the body, various quantitative indicators of the work of these enzymes are described. And, of course, using the methods of physics and mathematics, blood flow (speed, vascular resistance, etc.), respiration (lung volume, for example) are studied and described, and the work of muscles is described. And the most important and, in my opinion, interesting, is the study and description of the work of nerve cells and our brain, because nerve cells conduct a nerve impulse, which is electricity, like in a wire, only instead of electrons, calcium ions move there and create an electromagnetic field, potassium, sodium, chlorine. With the help of mathematics, a model has been created that describes the operation of a neuron, the behavior of its membrane when conducting a nerve impulse. Etc.
To understand biophysics, you need to know biology, at least at the level of an undergraduate course. But it all depends on what area of ​​biophysics you are interested in.

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