Careers That Combine Biology & Mathematics


Biology and mathematics seems to be mutually exclusive fields but in reality the two disciplines have crossected throughout and have become intertwined even more with the avdvent of computers in biological research. These are five fields that combine biology and mathematics on a regular basis.

Careers That Combine Biology & Mathematics
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An agricultural sales manager, Galynn Beer, presented some of the ways that the agricultural industry depends on math to meet business goals. Examples where math and biology would intersect are soil analysis in which the percentages of certain elements like nitrogen are measured to determine how well a crop would grow. Also, math is used in analyzing fertilizer blends before being used as well as acre shaping and projections of crops.

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Biomechanics is the study of how things move in biological processes, such as how far your leg can bend back and forth. Biomechanics are used by podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons to determine treatment options according to course in biomechanics taught at the University of Ottawa. Physics and biology play a role in biomechanics but quite a bit of math is used. To be successful in biomechanics, a strong knowledge of vectors and angles is needed. In addition to trigonometry, linear algebra and vector calculus are used in the field.

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This field uses statistics to measure biological and medical interactions well as studies in research. Biostatistics is prevalent in clinical research to measure if a certain drug or device is successful in treating a randomized patient population. The type of math would fall under statistics, and most biology degrees require at least a course in biostatistics. Advanced degrees in biostatistics are available as well.

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As its name suggests, biochemistry studies the interactions of biology and chemistry. However, even the biochemist uses math in routine tasks such as titrations of acid and base illustrated by Curtright et al, logarithms in determining how strong an acid or base is. Also, biochemists use math to interpret data from research results. For a degree in biochemistry, most students would need math up to the level of calculus.

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The field of bioinformatics is another field where the merging of biology and math can happen. Bioinformatics is the use of computers to solve biological problems. Specifically, mathematic calculations are used to reach conclusions on various biological mysteries. Nair Achuthsankar, of the Computer Society of India, illustrates that the study of bioinformatics has the most relevance in the discipline of molecular biology, using math to explain different the phenomena of DNA. The type of math used for bioinformatics would fit under the umbrella of applied mathematics.

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