Jungck, John R. 2007. Ten Equations that Changed Biology: Mathematics in Problem-Solving Biology Curricula. Bioscene. 23(1): 11-35.
The author is a member of the Department of Biology, Beloit College, Beloit, WI USA.
From the introduction, "These equations were selected upon the basis of wide-spread recognition of the value of the models as indicated by their:
(1) being cited in common undergraduate biology textbooks,
(2) being the subject of biographies of the names associated with these equations,
(3) appearance in historical monographs on biology, and/or
(4) receipt of public awards such as Nobel prizes and British Knighthood.
Of these ten equations the differential equations which might interest us are, Lotka-Volterra Interspecific Competition Logistic Equations, Hodgkin-Huxley (Goldman) Equations for Neural Axon Membrane Potential, and Michaelis - Menten Equation for Enzyme Kinetics.
There is broad introductory material on the importance of quantitative reasoning in biology and there is a solid set of references for EACH equation and a summary set of references for general quantitative biology.
Some general advice is offered in how to get more quantitative reasoning into biology:
"So what do we do to enhance quantitative understanding across disciplines?
Below is what I say to life science faculty: Who can foster change in the quantitative skill of life science students? Only you, the biologists can do this! Two routes:
- Convince the math faculty that they're letting you down
- Teach the courses yourself
Note: Math faculty will not take you seriously unless you show them how the quantitative topics you insist that they cover will be used in your own courses!
This means biology courses must become less of a `litany of conclusions,' and more an exploration of how and why natural systems came to be as they are."
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