01_howtostudyFinalized

01_howtostudyFinalized - 01 How to Study Biology Biology is...

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01 How to Study Biology
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Studying ourselves and the universe All the developments of our civilization, ranging from clothes to guns, cars to medicines, reflect mankind's insatiable curiosity. Other animals also use tools, but we are singular in the types of tools we have developed. Our ancestors used this curiosity and problem solving ability for a very practical reason: food gathering. Protection from other human groups and the elements resulted in other key developments such as animal husbandry and the bow and arrow. What is different today vs. the inventions of our ancestors is that scientific studies require funds. In the past, scientific studies were only conducted by rich people, since they had the time and money (!) to explore various biological questions. In this module, we will answer the following questions: 1. How do scientists find money to pay for their research? 2. Who pays for research? 3. What is the scientific method and why is it important? 4. Are there ways to make new discoveries? 5. How do ethics fit in? 01 How to Study Biology
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Financial Support It was a large conference room in one of the major building in Bethesda, Maryland at the National Institutes of Health. Scientists from major universities were evaluating research proposals. Assistant professor Jim Smith's proposal from Harvard, which took him 6 months to write and submit through university channels, was under review. The primary evaluator of Dr. Smith's proposal was not enthusiastically in favor of awarding the grant due to a number of major issues he had with the proposal. As a result it was not given a good score. Dr. Smith was notified a month later that he would not receive funds for his research but he was encouraged to reapply. Subsequently, Dr. Smith had to scramble to find funds to support his laboratory crew of three postdoctoral fellows and two graduate students. The grant also paid for 25% of Dr. Smith's salary. That was also gone. His research question which dealt with the proposed genetic mechanisms of alcoholism was based on recent data he had accumulated. He had published sufficient papers on this topic but his research was considered pedestrian. Translated: same old stuff. The study of biology is not a nice neat world as is usually presented. Biomedical, ecological, or space research produce new information that eventually will develop new insight into various biological questions, new vaccines, new approaches to diseases, etc. All scientific studies vary in their sophistication, often according to the amount of funds that support them. All countries conduct research: some more than others. Likewise with universities. Some are more teaching-oriented, whereas others are full time research institutions. Community colleges are designed to be primarily teaching institutions, while institutions such as the University of California system are designed to be mostly research-oriented. Research is by nature competitive. If you think the super bowl is
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course BIOL 100 taught by Professor Lee during the Winter '07 term at San Diego State.

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01_howtostudyFinalized - 01 How to Study Biology Biology is...

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