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Introduction to Biology and Its Definition

Biology is the science of life (from the Greek words bios = life and logos = reasoned account). It is concerned with the characteristics and behaviors of organisms, how species and individuals come into existence, and the interactions they have with each other and with their environment. Biology encompasses a broad spectrum of academic fields that are often viewed as independent disciplines. Together, they study life over a wide range of scales. 

Life is studied at the atomic and molecular scale in molecular biology, biochemistry, and molecular genetics. At the level of the cell, it is studied in cell biology and at multicellular scales, it is examined in physiology, anatomy, and histology. Developmental biology studies life at the level of the development or ontogeny of an individual organism.

Moving up the scale towards more than one organism, genetics considers how heredity works between parent and offspring. Ethology considers group behavior of more than one individual. Population genetics looks at the level of an entire population, and systematics considers the multi-species scale of lineages. Interdependent populations and their habitats are examined in ecology and evolutionary biology. A speculative new field is astrobiology (or xenobiology) which examines the possibility of life beyond the Earth.

History of the Word Biology
Formed by combining the Greek bios, meaning 'life', and logos, meaning ‘reasoned account’, the word "biology" in its modern sense seems to have been introduced independently by Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus (Biologie oder Philosophie der lebenden Natur, 1802) and by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (Hydrogéologie, 1802). The word itself is sometimes said to have been coined in 1800 by Karl Friedrich Burdach, but it appears in the title of Volume 3 of Michael Christoph Hanov's Philosophiae naturalis sive physicae dogmaticae: Geologia, biologia, phytologia generalis et dendrologia, published in 1766.

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