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Bio 103, wrap up forum

Paul Grobstein's picture

Welcome to the on-line forum for Biology 103.  This is a place for thoughts in progress, a place to leave thoughts and questions that others may find useful and find ones that you might find useful, a place for conversation.  Join in, and let's see what we can make of life together.  If you're registered for the course, be sure to sign in before posting.  Others are welcome to join in as well but posting of comments will be delayed to check for spam. 
You came into the course with three questions about life (see forum on course home page).  After a semester of thinking together about life, what three questions would you like to explore/see others explore in the years ahead? 

jmstuart's picture

 I think three unanswered

 I think three unanswered questions that I would like to see explored  involve some of the same elements of my original question. 

I would like to know more about the structures and viruses, and maybe steps in their evolution? to help us better understand disease.

Also, talking about things like amounts of testing necessary piqued my interest in the politics of biology, on things like health care and stem cell research.

finally, one topic we didn't discuss too thoroughly was global warming and its implications.



cejensen's picture

Bio 103

I have really enjoyed this course. It has me thinking about biology and other sciences in a whole new light. I loved how we ended the course, with the observation that "biology influences everything but doesn't determine anything." It was a conclusion I felt that I had been heading towards in a couple of my web papers, so it made a lot of sense to me. I would recommend this course to anyone with an open mind - it opens your mind further.

Three questions I would like to explore further: 

- How does environment or culture affect the study of biology? This is something I look into a bit in my book report.

- What role does gender play in the manifestation of mental illness? (this is something I looked into a bit in my last two web papers: why are men more prone to going on rampages; why are women more prone to having anxiety disorders like BFRDs?)

- How can we work to prevent severe congenital anomalies from occurring?


Thanks for a great semester, everyone!

paoli.roman's picture

Last Week (Final Thoughts)

I have really enjoyed this course very much! It has made me less "scared" about biology and learning it/applying it more in my education. This semester has been a search for the answer to life and we have had quite a few interesting conversations regarding this idea. Taking this class along with a Philosophy of Religion course has made making sense of life difficult but yet easier to take in. In Bio I definitely felt more comfortable with the topic and less confused but the actual scientific terms did confuse me at times. Regardless of this  I have become more comfortable with this idea that was discussed in the last class; the idea of biology and culture. I really never thought that the too intertwined. The idea that genes interact with almost anything and that this then has a big impact on biology which has an even bigger impact on our cultures which humans lead their lives around. It was discussed during class that life experiences (culture) affect genes which affects the individuals body. This makes total sense especially when one applies it to the idea of nature vs. nurture. Yet the main message one must stick with (which has certainly stuck with me) is that science is always changing and one must continue to observe these changes and apply them to everyday life such as our cultures and one will come to understand how and why biology influences certain things in the world instead of completely determing it which makes a big difference/ point when trying to make sense of life. Thank you Professor Grobstein and Wil for a wonderful semester full of inquiries and laughter! Happy Holidays everyone...

dchin's picture

Wrap Up

This course has showed me biology in a way that I have never seen it before. It amazes me that biology has connections with nearly every other discipline in existence, which is truly mind-blowing considering that I had never previously thought that science had any relevance to any field other than science. My three questions are:

1. How much do we really know our bodies? For so many years, the popular belief was that as much screening as possible for various diseases was the deterrent against illness, but now with a report saying that women should actually get screened for breast cancer less often, how much truth do our other beliefs about screening and disease prevention hold?

2. How much longer will our ecosystem support us? Human beings continue to use more and more resources to accommodate more and more people, so it is only a matter of time before we run out of space and resources. This time is also shortened by the amount of havoc that we wreak on the environment.

3. What could possibly be the next stage in human evolution, and given the interconnectedness of all organisms, what would the ramifications be on the environment and other species?

sophie b.'s picture

My second web paper really

My second web paper really got me thinking a lot about your second point, it seems like the way that we are consuming resources and producing food/people has to significantly change in the very near future (has anyone seen consumer consequences?, its a quiz that tells you how many planets we would need if everyone in the world lived like you). Its a really interesting time, I think to be studying biology as we're hitting a really crucial time in the history of our planet.  

lcorhan's picture

inquiries of others


  • Biology, like all science, is a social process, one in which the observations and tentative summaries are shared among individuals, so that each can benefit from the ongoing inquiries of others.

I think this is the most important part of science and this class to me. i enjoyed listening to others and sharing ideas, learning new ideas, obtaining my own new ideas, etc...

Terrible2s's picture

3 questions

This semester has taught me a lot about thinking. Here are my three questions for the future:


1. If science is striving to be less wrong, is there anything, even one little tiny thing, that we can call a fact? I'm living and breathing--I'd call that a fact, can we?

2. How much of biology is simply an overlapping topic put under another name? We did a lot of what I would call chemistry, and I'm wondering if we separated the two sciences incorrectly? Do we need a new, third science?

3. Is medecine and taking care of yourself fighting nature? How would we function if we didn't go to the doctors and just rested and healed ourselves without substances or operations? We tend toward entropy, so should we just let nature take its course?


Thanks so much, it's been a great semester!