New Angles on Biology
“Did you hear about the farmer who hired some mathematicians to help him increase his milk yield? Their report began: “Consider a spherical cow . . . “. “THE MATHEMATICS OF LIFE” by Ian Steward is a real page-turner supporting the idea that for the next century the driving force behind mathematics will be biology, and that this marks a fundamental, and exciting, shift in how the sciences inter-relate. “Mathematicians like nothing better than a rich source of new questions,” he writes. “Biologists, rightly, will be impressed only by the answers.”
“According to Ian Stewart, biology is in the early stages of a sixth revolution, by which he means a sixth major transformation where scientists change the way they think about life. The first five were: inventing the microscope; systematically classifying the planet’s living creatures; recognizing evolution by natural selection; discovering the gene; and determining the structure of DNA. The nascent sixth, Mr. Stewart says, is Mathematics.” Book review by Keith DEVLIN (The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2011).