What is Biomath?
Biomathematics is a discipline that combines the use of
both Biology and Mathematics. Research in Biology is
usually thought to be based on experimentation with
materials, while in Mathematical Biology experimentation is
of a theoretical nature. Biomathematicians use
organizational properties and concepts in an attempt to
discover new answers to the questions posed by biologists
about the nature and properties of living organisms. In
other words, Mathematical Biology involves the application
of physical principles to biological systems (2). This
should not imply that Biomathematics is devoid of data. The
entire field of Biometry (also known as Biological
Statistics or Biostatistics), for example, is based on the
statistical analysis of numerical data produced by the
process of studying biological systems (3).
A major advantage of applying mathematics to biological
systems is the ability to construct mathematical models.
Such models are mathematical systems that attempt to
represent the complex interactions of biological systems in
a way simple enough for their consequences to be understood
and explored (1,2). Traditionally models that allowed
biologists to see a problem in a simplified way have been
physical systems constructed to exibit simple biological
properties which could be analyzed (2). This kind of model,
however, is restricted by technology as well as
technological ingenuity. Mathematical models have no such
restriction and can be used to construct any sort of model
system (2). Another advantage of the mathematical treatment
of biological problem is that it can bring to the surface
answers that would have been otherwise overlooked (1).
Mathematical Biology is as diverse as Biology itself. In
fact, mathematics can be applied to most areas of Biology.
Mathematical Genetics which is the study of the dynamics of
populations in time, is one of the earliest areas of
biology that involved a great deal of mathematics (2).
Other examples include the study of neural nets,
enzyme/substrate interactions, membrane properties
and many more (1,2).
Howland, John L. and Grobe, Charles A. Jr.
Mathematical Approach to Biology. Lexington,
Massachusetts: D. C. Heath and Company, 1972.
2. Robert Rosen ed. Foundations
of Mathematical Biology Vol. I: Subcellular
York: Academic Press, 1972.
3. Sokal, Robert R. and Rohlf, F. James.
Biometry: The Principles and Practice of Statistics in
Biological Research. 2nd. ed. San
Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1981.
book of interest is:
Burton ed. Mathematical
Biology: A Conference on Theoretical Aspects of Molecular
York: Pergamon Press, 1981.
contains papers in diverse areas of mathematical biology.
Each paper provides an introduction to the subject under
study as well as references to related investigations.