Biology

 

Biology is the study of life...

What does it tell us about ourselves?

About the larger world of which we are a part? Our place in that world?

Complexity

Diversity

Humanity

Is it possible that science and life are, in some important sense, the same thing?

General Biology | Neurobiology | Diversity | Evolution | Emergence | Resources

= interactive exhibits; = includes on-line public forum

General Biology
From Random Motion to Order: Diffusion and Some of It's Implications An interactive exhibit with models (requires Java).

Chance in Life and the World An interactive exhibit exploring chance, randomness, and order.

Diffusion: Heterogeneous mixtures An interactive exhibit.

On Beyond Newton ... An interactive exhibit on homeostasis/autonomy/chaos centered around population dynamics.

The Game of Life Does order necessarily require a planner? (requires Java).

The essential link between life and the second law of thermodynamics

From the Head to the Heart An article on levels of organization, variability, and information.

Biology: Basic Concepts A course at Bryn Mawr College, 2007 (see list of courses for past semesters).

Hands-on Activities for Teaching Biology to High School or Middle School Student

Neurobiology

Simple Networks, Simple Rules: Learning and Creating Categories Can simple things learn? An interactive exhibit and on-line forum.

Neurobiology and Behavior A course at Bryn Mawr College, 2009 (see list of courses for past semesters).

Different Behaviors, Different Brains? An exhibit.

Brain Size and Evolution Illustrated lecture notes.

Genes, Brains, Behavior A resource page.

*See also the Brain and Behavior section of Serendip.

Diversity

Diversity and Deviance: A Biological Perspective An essay.

Comparative Brain Organization An exhibit exploring the similarities and differences in brains across animals.

Does Biology Have Anything to Contribute to Thinking About Sex and Gender? Lecture notes.

Diversity: beyond issues of fairness? An on-line forum.

Making Sense of Diversity: A conversation at Bryn Mawr College Archived notes and forum discussions.

Evolution

Evolution as Reproduction with Variability An interactive exhibit that highlights the role of randomness and variation in driving evolution.

Evolution/Science: Inverting the Relationship Between Randomness and Meaning An essay and on-line forum.

Evolution and Intelligent Design: Perspective and Resources

The Story of Evolution and the Evolution of Stories A course at Bryn Mawr College, 2009 (see list of courses for past semesters).

Evolution: What's the Problem? What Can We Do About It? Notes and discussion in the Cafe Scientifique at Bryn Mawr College, 23 February 2009.

Emergence and Complex Systems

Coordination without a leader: flocking An interactive exhibit.

Ant Colonies: Social Organization Without A Director? An interactive exhibit.

The World of Langton's Ant An exhibit investigating "purpose" and "purposeful behavior" with models (requires Java).

From Complexity to Emergence and Beyond: Towards Empirical Non-Foundationalism as a Guide to Inquiry A published paper (Word file).


"All the physical and chemical laws that are known to play an important role in the life of organisms are of this statistical kind; any other kind of lawfulness and orderliness that one might think of is being perpetually disturbed and made inoperative by the unceasing heat motion of the atoms."

Erwin Schrödinger, What Is Life?

 

 

"There is grandeur in this view of life... that... from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

Charles Darwin, On The Origin of Species

 

 

"I like to think of the possible shape of the future brooding in mice, just as it brooded once in a rather ordinary mousy insectivore who became a man. It leaves a nice fine indeterminate sense of wonder that even an electronic brain hasn't got, because you know perfectly well that if an electronic brain changes, it will be bacause of something man has done to it. A certain scale of time and a ghostly intangible thing called change are ticking in him. Powers and potentials like the oak in the seed, or a red and awful ruin. Either way, its impressive; and the mouse has it too."

Loren Eiseley, "The Bird and the Machine" in The Star Thrower

 

 

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