Monday, August 29, 2011

Question of the Day: Physics or Genetics?


Some people love physics and math. With a few observations here and there, a physicist can infer the whole workings of the universe. "Oh, the moons of Jupiter seem to orbit around Jupiter at various speeds." Ahah! "The speed of light is finite!" He can do this because physics is so elegant and its rules are so universal. Even though it's all theoretical, there's a sort of inevitability to physics that makes it so appealing to me. Reading Eintein and Hawking, I've come to discover how the universe works in one way, and that is how it has to be. Let me put it this way: the same principles governing the way an apple falls from a tree is also the same principle underlying black holes forming from pulsars billions of light years away. It's so fascinating.


On the other hand, genetics and biology don't follow universal rules, and theories involving such a dynamic and living thing are never absolute or inevitable. Life is so dynamic; a biologist cannot make accurate inferences about life billions of years ago based on life today, and we may never know. An organism has a gene for lactose catabolism? So many different ways it could have acquires those genes. Independently, through lateral gene transfer, through a million simultaneous base substitutions, etc. Not to belabor the point, but it is inelegant in contrast to physics.

So which do you prefer, biology or physics? Do the isotopes in the stars interest you more, or do you prefer the study of animals and the causes of diseases?

I mentioned isotopes because I needed something to segue to what I did today; I cleaned up a super radioactive microfuge in the lab I work at today. The readings of tritium were off the charts, and so I did a pre-cleaning liquid scintillation count and two post-cleaning counts. Given the inherent danger of exposure to radioactivity, I still managed to have a blast.

22 scientific replies:

GHive said...

Physics for me, too bad you dont have a poll for us to vote on :D

Bersercules said...

I can tell you have a bias for physics cause you certanly skipped on the beauty of biology.
You can watch it happen right in front of your face!

My 2 Pesos said...

I actually love both of them!

That Bastard From Bellingham said...

I actually prefer genetics to either, but only 'cuz I'm so trigger-happy when it comes to the idea of genetic modification and biotechnology.

Physics only kinda-sorta freaks me out...I could take out a genetically superior creature with my bare hands or a weapon.

A mortal creature cannot fight back against something as inevitable as a roaming black hole popping up, LITERALLY outta nowhere, in the middle of our sun.

Or a massive solar flare that literally turns us into Mercury 2.0...or anything brane theory related that causes us to slide into nonexistence or allows for "dimensional crash"...

Or friggin' that one where time simply stops and we all unravel like strings, becoming one in a super-anomaly. That one REALLY freaks me out because despite how much of a cuddler I am I do like to have my personal space from time to time.

Plus I hate to be bothered by ANYONE before I have my morning coffee, for all that sure I could deal with it and can do so cheerfully...I'd still rather have my morning cuppa before having to deal with the day's crap.

Kinda can't do that when you're theoretically a pile of strings stretched out amongst the infinite. That shit just plain sucks.

Physics is wonderful for figuring out workable, plausible theories on how reality works...but at the same time, it also shows how friggin' inadequate we are to deal with it. I don't even mean that in a "we should prepare for all cataclysmic omnidimensional events" but rather that we should at least have planetary evacuation plans in place.

We do not, woefully. BUUUUUUT, I honestly believe biotechnology and genetic modifications can aid us in terracolonizing other planets IN B4 HATERAGE.

mjunta said...

nice pictures!

Gareth Thomas said...

Physics interest me on the grand scale, the massiveness of the universe, but biology interests me on the smaller scale. But then again, Physics interests me even more on the even smaller scale!

Inverse said...

This one is tough for me. I appreciate both, I like physics because I have a need for everything to be ordered and logical and also, I like genetics because of it's chaosy(?) nature, means more possibilities.

Timothy Bowen said...

Physics for me. Especially QUANTUM PHYSICS...cuz parallel worlds are fun.

Neon said...

No matter what , I sucked ass at both of them in school :/
EDUCATE ME, HAVE YOU HEARD??

GMSoccerPicks said...

Physics for me, i love math so physics suit me better.

Natural One said...

Of course biology for me.

fabio_2007 said...

Physics for me.

Hento the loony repairman :D said...

the evolution to sustain life works in wonder full ways, life finds its way and reshapes itself to continue existing, we have been blessed to have aquired inteligence enough to know we exist, and gaze out into the universe, we surely cant be the only ones out there!

cogito ergo sum :3

ZIane said...

I'll stick here. This is a pretty good reading

Damian said...

Physics for me, it's more adamant and measurable, if that makes sense. Biology is a lot of theorizing and memorization. Well, at least it is in high school :P

Bones said...

Physics is my choice.

Hasidic Plumber said...

I'd rather go with physics. I simply don't care that much about biology.

BDTC said...

I enjoy both, simply because physics has proven figures, which amazes me with how they are, and genetics are like an enormously huge cesspool of random happenings that shape every single living thing, Idunno, I guess I'm weird like that

Internet Catch Of The Day said...

I like them both, but my preference is for physics, but I like genetics too otherwise I wouldn't be here!

Anonymous said...

I actually study both together, so no choice needed!

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