Summary of “Is it Alive?”

Firstly, about theories..

Does theory becomes a fact?

  • No. A theory is an explanation of all known facts about a particular topic. A fact is just a piece of data that may not even be confirmed.

What is the key element of hypothesis or theory?

  • They are based on facts and can be proven scientifically.

So what does a theory do?

  • It serves (to a certain extent) as a universal explanation to all known facts.
  • e.g. plate tectonics, evolution

So how would you rank: Law, Observation, Hypothesis, Fact, Theory?

  1. Theory – universal, logical explanation for all known facts
  2. Hypothesis – a statement about a relationship between 2 or more things based on facts
  3. Law – generalisation of how something behaves –> e.g. gravity
  4. Fact – pieces of data based on observations that may not be confirmed
  5. Observation – what you see/observe around you


Now about the summary of biology…

– What you have understood about biology

– the skills that you need to build to be a good young biologist.

What is Biology?

The dictionary defines Biology as the study of life.

I think it can be more detailed.

In my opinion Biology is the study of not just living things by themselves, their life cycles, habits etc. but how they interact with other organisms and non-living things in their environment, and how living things were created in the first place.

As such there are many disciplines of biology that range from the cell (even DNA and genes) to the bigger picture of ecology.

So it is something like this:

Natural world

DNA –> cell –> organism > history, physical and behavioural traits–> interaction with environment


What are some qualities of a Biologist?

I think these are similar to those of other scientists but there are also specific qualities to this discipline.

  • Curious about the world around us
  • Imaginative
  • Logical in thinking and actions
  • Adventurous, daring to get your hands dirty
  • Passionate about the discovery of new (things – for the lack of a better word)
  • Patience and meticulousness to observe the surroundings in detail
  • Determination to make new discoveries
  • Respect for the natural world


What are the morals & values that a Biologist should possess?

I think a biologist should have respect for the environment

  • a biologist should take care to leave only footprints behind, and ensure the environment is unchanged as far as possible after he/she has observed it

A biologist should be humane and respect organisms as equals

  • Biologists should treat organisms with care and not harm/kill them as far as possible

A biologist should take responsibility for his/her actions


How can we know about the things around us?

  • observation! we can observe things in their natural environment or in a specially controlled one, like in the mealworm experiment
  • we can do research on the internet and find out about discoveries and observations made by others
  • we can interact with these things (e.g. shining light on a mealworm, putting it on you hand)


How do I become a Biologist?

  • If you have an interest in the natural world and have made the decision to learn more about the living things all around you, you are a biologist!
  • However, how to carry out a biologist’s work is the difficult part. Although there are many ways to do this, I have to put in consistent effort.
  • Since biology is so diverse, I can choose to focus on one aspect of it, for example zoology, and narrow it down further, to perhaps ornithology (the study of birds)
  • I can try observing the birds around me in the local environment and note down their habits, characteristics etc. I can also try interacting with them and note down their reactions, or perhaps go bird-watching in less urban environments to observe a greater variety of birds.
  • I can also focus on biology in general and do research on different areas that I have an interest in. For example I can switch between ornithology and botany from time to time, and just research on whatever aspect of Biology interests me for the moment when I have the time.
  • In short, being a biologist is not stiff and formal! It just takes a spark of interest and commitment to become a biologist, and everyone can be one in their own way, be it observation or actual case studies in the forests and so on.


This is my honest understanding of biology so far. I do find it interesting 🙂

Feel free to clarify anything or correct any misunderstandings.