Столкновение цивилизаций в биологии

Летом прошлого года несколько десятков ученых - физиков собрались в городе Аспен, штат Колорадо, чтобы отпраздновать то, что журнал " Nature " назвал "растущим ощущением, что именно отношение их отрасли знаний сыграет решающую роль в том, какие плоды принесет постгеномная эпоха в биологии". Действительно, в условиях, когда генетика используется для совершенствования практически всего - от человеческого здоровья до сельскохозяйственной продукции - физики и математики во всем мире "вливаются" в биологические науки. Биология - это область, где будет развиваться научная деятельность, и куда будут вкладываться деньги в новом столетии.

Физики и математики не впервые обращают свои взоры на биологию в поисках новых невозделанных просторов для научной деятельности, однако история таких попыток выглядит довольно печально. Биология и физика преследуют разные цели, придерживаются разных традиций и пытаются найти ответы на разные вопросы.

Мое первое знакомство с этими дисциплинарными различиями состоялось много лет назад, когда я вела курс использования математических методов в биологии. Рассматривая биологическую задачу с 11 переменными, я использовала простой метод, называемый анализом размерностей, чтобы показать, что только три из них требовали исследования опытным путем, в то время как отношения между остальными переменными можно было определить логически. "Но вы не проводили эксперименты, - жаловались студенты, - откуда же вы знаете, что это так?"

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