Mathematics for Biological Scientists

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Garland Science, Sep 30, 2009 - Science - 482 pages

Mathematics for Biological Scientists is a new undergraduate textbook which covers the mathematics necessary for biology students to understand, interpret and discuss biological questions.

The book's twelve chapters are organized into four themes. The first theme covers the basic concepts of mathematics in biology, discussing the mathematics used in biological quantities, processes and structures. The second theme, calculus, extends the language of mathematics to describe change. The third theme is probability and statistics, where the uncertainty and variation encountered in real biological data is described. The fourth theme is explored briefly in the final chapter of the book, which is to show how the 'tools' developed in the first few chapters are used within biology to develop models of biological processes.

Mathematics for Biological Scientists fully integrates mathematics and biology with the use of colour illustrations and photographs to provide an engaging and informative approach to the subject of mathematics and statistics within biological science.


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This book was recommended to accompany a graduate course in "Mathematics for Systems Biology." I have plenty of background in elementary mathematics through calculus and statistics so was not sure it would be valuable. I was wrong. First, it has a fresh approach to the mathematical concepts that make the connections to biology that I might have known but never put into words. Also, after it reinforces this foundation, it moves into clear explanations of probability and statistics ("normal" and inferential.) The equations are explained, graphics are strong, and concepts developed at a great pace. It was a book I wanted to read, from which I really needed to learn, and through which I was able to explain mathematical concepts to my college students with new examples and a deeper understanding. I highly recommend.  


Quantities and Units
Numbers and Equations
Tables Graphs and Functions
Shapes Waves and Trigonometry
Calculus Expanding the Toolkit
The Calculus of Growth and Decay Processes
Descriptive Statistics and Data Display
Statistical Inference
Biological Modeling

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About the author (2009)

Steve Hladky is a Reader in Membrane Pharmacology in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge. He was Secretary of the Department's teaching committee for 17 years, during which time he coordinated the teaching in the Department.

Bill Broadhurst is Assistant Director of Research in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge.

Mike Aitken is a University Lecturer and the Undergraduate Teaching Director in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge.

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