The auxiliary sciences or auxiliary disciplines are those that, without fully addressing a specific area of study, are linked to it and provide assistance, since their possible applications contribute to the development of said area of study.
In the case of biology, a scientific discipline that is interested in the different forms of life in the known universe, it is common for it to receive help from other experimental sciences, such as chemistry, in order to broaden the perspectives with which this science approaches nature, thus giving origin to biochemistry. For instance: agriculture, statistics, computing.
However, it is common for biological research to also be allied with disciplines, applied sciences and social sciences that at first glance would not have much to do with its interests, but that provide it with material, conceptual and theoretical tools to approach life in various fields and through different approaches.
Examples of auxiliary sciences of Biology
- Chemistry. As we said, the collaboration of biology and chemistry yields biochemistry as a result: a discipline that is characterized by focusing its investigative and experimental efforts in the exclusive areas of organic substances and life forms, such as, for example, the chemistry of the body’s metabolic processes, the logic of the materials that make up the cell or that govern its processes, etc.
- Geography. Since biology is concerned with life as a whole, and life necessarily occurs and thrives in a certain place and certain climatic conditions, geography and its tools of climatological analysis or its zonal classification systems are useful to it. In fact, terms such as “biome” are the product of this overall look, which leads to biogeography.
- farming. Botany, a branch of biology dedicated to the study of plants, exchanges a lot of information with agriculture and the knowledge of sowing, germination and food harvesting. In fact, from their collaboration there are remarkable agricultural advances that allow the development of more and better food, or at least a greater degree of awareness about what is done and how it is done when sowing.
- Statistics. This branch of mathematics, in charge of calculating probabilities, provides biology with numerous tools for population calculation, extremely useful for undertaking the quantitative analysis of its results, as well as expressing them in verifiable logical language. It is the best way to address ecosystems and biological populations.
- History. As in the case of other scientific disciplines, the historical perspective is key to understanding the evolution of a field of study over time and managing the context in which the great exponents of it made and published their findings. On the other hand, what else is the theory of evolution than a history of life on the planet?
- Linguistics. More precisely, philology and its handling of dead languages and the history of communication of our species, provides biology with useful nomenclatures for its taxa or classification groups of living beings. Thus, for example, the names of the species are written in Latin and gain a universal character.
- computing. As in almost all experimental sciences, computing and its powerful data processing tools have become an indispensable ally. If we add to this the capacity of specialized software and other forms of information control and management, it will be understood that two distant sciences such as biology and computing have been collaborating with each other for years (in fact, we are already talking about bioinformatics).
- engineering. The mother of ingenuity, engineering, draws on theoretical sciences such as biology to be able to find solutions to its problems (applications) while providing them with innovative tools such as specialized machinery, devices designed for precise experiments and endless of applications that grow an area of research.
- Nanotechnology. There is apparently no area of knowledge that cannot benefit from the deep handling of matter that nanotechnology offers. The manipulation of life at the molecular or subcellular level allows these two disciplines to offer new approaches to the biological problems of man and different ecosystems, such as genetically modified bacteria to biodegrade plastic, viruses programmed to fulfill biological functions, etc.
- Physical. Many branches of physics, such as electricity or quantum mechanics, are of interest to biology, which often uses this knowledge to explain organic processes or to approach life from a more complex perspective, which takes into account factors of another nature. .
- Paleontology. The study of the creatures of the past cannot be entirely independent of the disciplines that deal with life, obviously. Collaboration between these disciplines is frequent and common, since their study areas serve the other to test hypotheses, generate interpretations and address the past in a more informed way.
- Medicine. The fields of study of medicine and biology are so narrow that at times they seem indistinguishable. Even so, the contributions of medicine on the understanding of the human body and those made by biology, allow the birth of disciplines such as Food Technology, specialized study of nutrition processes and the manipulation of food matter for benefit of the human being.
- Optics. The marvelous development of optics, a branch of physics that studies light and the processes to which it is susceptible, allowed the emergence of branches of biology such as microbiology: biology of the microscopic world, the study of which would be impossible without apparatus (microscopes ) that allow microscopic matter to be enlarged and ecosystems invisible to the eye can be studied.
- Oceanography. Science specialized in the oceans often makes use of the study of life (in the sea), as can be the case in marine biology. This exchange is deeply nourishing for fishing life and marine ecology, as well as all the economic activities that man develops on the coasts, such as tourism. On the other hand, oceanography would not exist without the prior presence of biology (ichthyology).
- Pharmacology. The study of toxins is due, to a large extent, to the analytical capacity of living beings endowed with them, such as poisonous animals, jellyfish, etc. However, this learning applied to human health (elaboration of antidotes, etc.) increases at the same time the knowledge we have about the substances of nature.
- Logic. Biology, like other “hard” or exact sciences, is based on the steps of the scientific method and on a reasoning model whose premises are clearly logically defined. This branch of philosophy gives biology the possibility of analyzing its own method of studying the reality that interests it.
- Embryology. This science dedicated to understanding the birth of life, its initial stages and its specific development, is at a midpoint between biology and medicine, so we list it separately. His discoveries are of equal value for both fields and often test theories about the origin of life on the planet and about the evolution of living beings.
- Museology. Given that many of the great museums in the world are of Natural Sciences, biology and museums collaborate closely in the dissemination of specialized knowledge, thinking about strategies to preserve the samples, develop informative tours, etc.
- Librarianship. Experimental sciences such as biology are not alien to the accumulation of knowledge, far from it, and there the information sciences provide specialized knowledge that orders, classifies and allows the recovery of accumulated information, as well as its correct reference (bibliographies ).
- Technical drawing. This discipline, closer to engineering, architecture or graphic design, has its place among the tools of biology, especially botany, whose approach to, for example, the leaves of the different plant species requires some illustration and graphic reproduction.