Science Synthesis

As a sophomore I had revised my four year plan specifically to enable me to take AP Bio and anatomy at the same time because I had heard that they overlap, allowing the student to gain more insight. Even though we are only a few weeks into the school year, this is already proving to be true. In anatomy the first unit was “Levels of Organization” where we learned about basic structure of the human body and biochemistry. Anatomy mentioned the basics of carbs and how they’re broken into monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides, and examples of each. Biology gave even more depth, explaining not only that cellulose is a polysaccharide, but detailing that it is a way for plants to store glucose and cannot be digested by humans because our enzymes that can only break down alpha and not beta. Biology also provided more insight about lipids. In anatomy all we learned was that important lipids include phospholipids, fatty acids, and steroids. Biology was able to subcategorize fatty acids into saturated, unsaturated, and trans-fat, explaining even more about the chemical structure than anatomy did. However, anatomy went more into the detail of the function of lipids in our body, specifying their role in insulation and protection in our body. There are a few things where biology and anatomy differ. When discussing water and its impact on life, biology and anatomy emphasized different properties of water. Biology focuses on broader aspects of water such as its polarity, cohesion, high heat of vaporization, and decreasing density when frozen. Anatomy, on the other hand, emphasizes things in the scope of how it helps the human body: lubrication, reactivity, and solubility. Although the molecule is the same the two classes focused on different things depending on what paradigm they approach it with.

There is also overlap between chemistry and biology. Because biology is chemistry applied in the body, everything that seemed theoretical in chemistry becomes practical in biology. All of the talk of electronegativity, IMFs, specific heat, and heat of vaporization in chemistry has very real ramifications in the context of biology. My knowledge that oxygen is very electronegative due to its number of electrons in a small number of energy levels very close to the nucleus leaves the oxygen wanting two more electrons to attain its most stable form. This explains how oxygen can damage the body by taking electrons from the body- especially mitochondria.

Electronegativity also explains the basic concept of why water is polar. The oxygen’s electronegativity causes the oxygen to attract the electrons shared between it and hydrogen closer, resulting in a negative oxygen and positive hydrogen. This simple concept results in complicated biological marvels such as the self assembly of the phospholipid bilayer due to the nonpolar hydrophobic lipid tails and the polar hydrophilic phosphate heads. The very basics of chemistry, atoms and how they bond, are always referenced back to. My strong background in chemistry enables me to understand how a disulfide bond would hold a protein together much more rigidly than simply van der waals, or dispersion forces, would.

About Mr. Mohn

Biology Teacher

This entry was written by Ritu A. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *