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Science 303 (5659): 788-790

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Introductory Science and Mathematics Education for 21st-Century Biologists

William Bialek1,3, and David Botstein2,3*

Abstract: Galileo wrote that "the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics"; his quantitative approach to understanding the natural world arguably marks the beginning of modern science. Nearly 400 years later, the fragmented teaching of science in our universities still leaves biology outside the quantitative and mathematical culture that has come to define the physical sciences and engineering. This strikes us as particularly inopportune at a time when opportunities for quantitative thinking about biological systems are exploding. We propose that a way out of this dilemma is a unified introductory science curriculum that fully incorporates mathematics and quantitative thinking.

1 Department of Physics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
2 Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
3 Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: botstein{at}

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