How much math do you need to know in order to do biology?

Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.

Moderators: honeev, Leonid, amiradm, BioTeam

Post Reply
Ohdmj
Garter
Garter
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:24 am

How much math do you need to know in order to do biology?

Post by Ohdmj » Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:39 am

I'm currently in high school and I want to study biology at the university, but I struggle a lot with mathematics. How much math do you use in biology?

wbla3335
Coral
Coral
Posts: 227
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 7:20 am

Re: How much math do you need to know in order to do biology?

Post by wbla3335 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:51 am

It depends on the field of biology. If you want to study bugs and things, you could get by with no math. I'd avoid fields such as population genetics. Most of molecular biology is quite biochemical and so requires doing a lot of simple calculations, but it's more arithmetic than mathematics. So there can be a lot or none. It'll depend on what sort of biology you would like to do. Also, computers are our friends.

Darby
Viper
Viper
Posts: 1278
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:29 pm
Location: New York, USA

Post by Darby » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:29 pm

It's tough to get a degree in biology and not have to do a lot of math. Genetics, chemistry, ecology, physics are fairly math-intensive.

User avatar
JackBean
Inland Taipan
Inland Taipan
Posts: 5694
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:12 pm

Post by JackBean » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:33 pm

we've had just one semester (plus one obligatory and one voluntary semesters of physics) and that was it. And I still live and do some biochemistry. But honestly, I could use some more of real statistics or this stuff.
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.

User avatar
biohazard
King Cobra
King Cobra
Posts: 776
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2007 6:45 pm

Post by biohazard » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:45 am

In my field (cellular & molecular biology, biotechnology), in practice, vast majority of maths involves calculating correct concentrations, cell numbers, molarities and other fairly basic stuff based on established formulas. When analyzing results you need also a degree of maths to calculate your p values and such, but statistical programs do most of the hard math on your behalf. During my university studies most of the tricky maths was in the biochemistry and especially chemistry classes.

So, in a nutshell, I'd say biology is not very maths intensive field but a good command of maths certainly won't hurt you.

However, if you 'struggle a lot', then that might be a problem. Why don't you borrow some university biochem textbooks or such and see how you do with the calculations? In my experience, high school maths should be enough for most of them, since few bio degrees have any proper maths courses included -- you mostly use high school maths in the university as well (there may be regional differences, of course).

Oh, just noticed I used the term 'maths' all the time. Hope you bear with me!

alison3492
Garter
Garter
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2014 7:08 pm

Post by alison3492 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 7:32 pm

Oh man. No one has a guess. Or can someone give me an idea where I could find out? Thanks

User avatar
jonmoulton
Viper
Viper
Posts: 442
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:38 pm
Location: Philomath, Oregon, USA

Re: How much math do you need to know in order to do biology?

Post by jonmoulton » Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:01 pm

What are you trying to find out, Alison?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests