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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life
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I am currently self-learning biology and I just completed MIT's 7.00x introduction to biology on edX .
The course is outstanding and anything but a "lifeless recitation of names". Prof Eric Lander (key researcher on the Human Genome Project) goes through two centuries of research and takes the time to explain how and why discoveries came into existence. It goes from the early days of biochemistry to recent major advancement such as CRISPR/Cas9.
I'm looking to apply my ML expertise to the field of biology and this course was a real windfall, I highly recommend it.
I would recommend the edX Introduction to Biology course .
It is a simplified version of the introductory biology course at MIT, that doesn't _focus_ on naming/defining things in biology. Instead, it uses the lenses of genetics and biochemistry to explore how the core machinery of life works, and how we got to our current understanding. That said, there is some amount of memorization that is unavoidable.
The Molecular Biology of the Cell is the standard text. https://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Sixth-Bruce-Alberts...
But you'll probably benefit from taking an Edx course https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-biology-the-secre...
⬐ villedepommesDo I have to brush up on inorganic and orgranic chemistry in order to get the most out of this book?⬐ AareyBabaYou should be able to get through with basic high-school chemisty. You need to know there are elements C, H, N, O, P, Ca, K, S, know what an ionic bond and covalent bonds is and be able to look at the structure of a molecule.⬐ villedepommesthanks!
Well, it very much depends on ones goals and ones context, doesn't it? Which impacts what ones brain pays wants and what it focuses its attention on, and what it filters out no matter how much you attempt to cram it in.
What I found a revelation and a bug eye opener - yes as a (CS degree) programmer - was: medicine, chemistry (and org. chem and bio.chem), biology. From Coursera and edx.org. When I did this it was all completely free, now they put some restrictions on some courses (Coursera more so than edX), for example that as a non-payer you cannot do all the exercises.
Even when/if the linked courses are over, accessing there content should still be possible. The courses are free, a certificate is not necessary. Some homework or exams may not be available for non-payers.
Best (university level introductory) course for biology: https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-biology-the-secre...
Physiology: I actually found a lot of lectures on Google better than any of the online courses, start from https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=physiology+
Fundamentals of neuro-science: https://www.mcb80x.org/ followed by "Medical Neuroscience" on Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/learn/medical-neuroscience -- easily one of the best courses out there
Staticstics is a huge part of medicine and biology - plenty of good courses on probability, statistics (all levels) and courses using R or Python, here a random example course: https://www.edx.org/course/statistical-analysis-in-bioinform...
Definitely Eric Lander's Introduction to Biology - The Secret Of Life class (MITx 7.00x)
Firm grounding in the Central Dogma. Covers the entire history of genetics. From Gregor Mendel's peas. To Morgenstern's Fruit Fly Lab. And right up to the present day Supreme Court BRCA case and CRISPR/Cas9. Essential background for understanding the coming century of New Biotech.
Here is a short excerpt (5 minutes) of an MIT lecture video that tells you a lot about Mendel and where he came from:
The full course is here - I cannot recommend it enough, the professor is pure gold(!): https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-biology-secret-life-...
Mendel was brilliant - but actually also a bit unlucky (or lucky?). All the traits he checked in his peas were on different chromosomes. He missed the deeper insights resulting form the confusion when inheritance of traits isn't independent, when genes were located on the same chromosome. That lead to the discovery of more mechanisms of inheritance... the random rearrangement of sections of chromosomes that takes place during meiosis.
I don't have a TV and quit most news and replaced it with
- coursera.org (now less that it has changed)
There are others like Udacity but I found that I ended up taking almost all courses on only these two sites.
Over 70 courses thus far, most of them completely outside my own field (I'm an IT consultant with a CS masters). Currently open courses (all edX):
- Soil4Life: Sustainable Soil Management (https://www.edx.org/course/sustainable-soil-management-soil-... - I want to learn something substantial about agriculture, not a lot of courses compared to other subjects but this seems like a good start)
- MITs truly excellent Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life (again, I had to stop in the middle last time I took it): https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-biology-secret-life-...
- First Nights: Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring: Modernism, Ballet, and Riots (https://www.edx.org/course/first-nights-igor-stravinskys-rit...)
Examples from the past: Western Civilization: Ancient and Medieval Europe, Pet Birds 101: Introduction to Avian Care and Medicine for the Pet Bird Enthusiast, Medical Neuroscience (huge course - >30 hours lecture videos, Coursera), A Global History of Architecture, Cellular mechanisms of brain function, Human Anatomy, Introduction to Physiology, Principles of Biochemistry, Solid State Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Statistics and R for the Life Sciences, Networks, Crowds and Markets, Introduction to Big Data with Apache Spark, Vocal Recording Technology, Horse Nutrition, and many more.
I think this is closer to what the article advocates. You just replaced relatively shallow news sources for others.
Try taking some courses. I have the advantage to work from home, I know if I worked 9-5 in an office I would be way too exhausted to do much of the above. But you can still find pleasurable easy courses like the History of Architecture or the entire First Nights series about five pieces of classical music which don't take much mental effort. Each time I read news now it feels like eating a McDonalds meal when you are actually used to real food. It keeps your mind occupied but it feels like there are no "nutrients" (in the news), nothing of substance.
⬐ octygenI honestly find coursera and edx are by far the best use of my time too. Structured learning with a beginning, an end and a few individuals (professors) that specialize in a field. I'm doing things that ARE actually in my field (similar to yours) but set me apart completely at work where most people don't take the time to do any sort of learning and just focus on the daily grind.
As a side note, the other more fun yet still kinda learning use of my time has been to watch a few older Japanese shows - not the crazy all-over-the-place stuff they have today. For example, Musashi (2003). It's fun to watch and at the end of every episode they talk about a site in Japan where Musashi traveled in real life. I find this type of show enriching. Another good one is a show called Change (from 2008) which is again Japanese about a young man randomly becoming prime minister of Japan. The show again discusses the intricacies of Japanese politics in a funny way but with a big dose of the real issues in Japan (e.g., the small number of young people vs the old).