• Question: what's you fav type of science???

    Asked by liv99 to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 29 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 29 Jun 2012:

      Hi liv99

      I think I gave you a short answer in the chat but here is the longer version.

      Out of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science then Biology is my favourite (although I also loved learning bits of Physics at school, especially particle physics).

      To look in more detail about which bits of biology I like…

      Well I find animals and microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, protozoa) much more interesting than plants or insects etc. What I mostly like to study are diseases: how diseases affect organisms and what the organisms do to fight back.

      This is why I like learning about zoonotic diseases (which are those diseases that pass from animals to humans and humans to animals). I think it’s not only fascinating to figure out how they cause disease in us but also, it’s a really important topic to research because if we knew more about them we might get less sick! Did you know that nearly 3/4’s of the new diseases we have found in humans originally came from animals?

      What’s your favourite type of science?

    • Photo: Michael Cook

      Michael Cook answered on 29 Jun 2012:

      Computer Science has lots of different areas in it – some of them need lots of maths, some of them need you to have a good memory and be a careful programmer. I like Artifiicial Intelligence, which is a large subject inside of computer science. It’s all about getting computers to do things that we think need ‘intelligence’ for humans to do them – everything from finding a route between two places on a map (like Google Maps) to having a conversation with a human being.

      I particularly like the bits of artificial intelligence (or AI) that use ‘logic’. When computer scientists talk about logic, they’re talking about a very special way of writing down information. It’s a sort of mathematics, and it helps things like computers think about the world and discover new information. For instance, if a computer knows:

      1. All students have to do their homework.
      2. liv99 is a student.

      Then logic can help the computer to decide:

      3. liv99 needs to do homework.

      Which sounds really obvious, but without logic it would be very hard for a computer to realise that! Before I was a PhD student, I did a project on a special type of computer program called a ‘solver’. Solvers use logic to solve massive, complicated logic problems. They’re really cool to work with!

    • Photo: Blanka Sengerova

      Blanka Sengerova answered on 29 Jun 2012:

      Well, I’m a biochemist so my interests lie at the interface between chemistry and biology. Sometimes this is called biochemistry, sometimes chemical biology, sometimes other things. This is a good example that shows that although we usually define ourselves as scientists in one particular field, the boundaries between the different dsiciplines are quite blurred and sometimes a physicist will have the best solution to approach a biology problem, and a chemist might really be useful for a physics problem.

      An example of this is bioinformatics, a relatively recent field which basically uses the power of computing and computer problems to solve biological problems which are increasingly becoming concerned with very large datasets (such as the full sequences of DNA of many different organisms) that need to be stored and data mined effectively.