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Natural Sciences

What Will I Study?

Biology is the science of life in all its richness, diversity, and beauty. It encompasses all levels of complexity from molecules to the biosphere. In addition, physical and mathematical principles are a core component of 21st century Biology, and as a result are core components of the CMU biology major.

Chemistry is often called the Central Science and is essential to Biology, as all life processes are based upon the myriad of chemical reactions occurring within cells. Chemistry also plays a vital role in many areas of public concern, including conservation of natural resources, environmental protection, food, and materials.

Mathematics is in many ways the language of the sciences, and this is as true in Biology as it is in Physics. Statistics helps to make sense of patterns and variability in large data sets produced by biological research. Calculus, as the mathematics of change, is key to understanding any biological process—from bacterial growth, to the dynamics of a disease, to the changing populations in an ecosystem.

Physics is the most fundamental science and is focused on discovering relationships between observations and patterns in nature. Physics and Biology have had a long and rich interdisciplinary history, with both fields influencing each other in important ways—from the relationship between the physical nature of light and sound and how these are used by an organism to sense and respond to its environment, to how statistical thermodynamic principles can be used to understand what drives chemical transformations in cells.

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