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    Frequently Asked Questions about Basic Science

  • In our increasingly high-tech and computer-mediated daily routines, it can sometimes be easy to forget that we are ultimately biological creatures inhabiting a world teeming with plant, animal, and microbial life. However, this reality is never far from our day-to-day experiences, especially if we get sick. Basic science is the study of the fundamental processes that are essential to life on our planet, including biology, biochemistry, genetics, anatomy, neurobiology, immunology, and more.

    Sometimes used interchangeably with the term “life science,” basic science isn’t just an abstract, theoretical field. Practical applications of this knowledge are responsible for many breakthroughs that we take for granted in our daily lives, from modern medicine to foods and other common household products. This research is also essential for new advances that researchers are working towards today, such as improved treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, genetically modified crops, and even potential cures for cancer.

    This body of basic science knowledge represents the cumulative work of countless scientists over hundreds of years. Referring to this tradition of accumulated scientific knowledge, Sir Isaac Newton famously said that “If I have seen further than others it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Studying basic science is foundational to contributing to the work of these “giants” or to standing on their shoulders.