Science is a curiosity-driven force that makes life easier.
From electricity and lightbulbs to supercomputers and the internet – the contributions of science have spearheaded discoveries after discoveries that have altered the way we live. Despite witnessing the miracles of science first hand, we may still find ourselves wondering, “what is the primary role of basic science?”
This post breaks down everything you need to know about basic and medical science and how the two interact.
What is Basic Science?
Before deep-diving into the importance of basic science, let’s start with the burning question – what is basic science?
In essence, basic science is the collective effort of humankind to comprehend the universe. It is triggered by curiosity and involves:
- The observation of nature or natural phenomenon,
- The postulation of hypothesis,
- The verification of the hypotheses to form quantifiable theories, and
- The test and validation of the theories to form principles.
It is the raw, pre-clinical stage of science that revolves around fundamental research. And in most cases, it arises due to a knowledge gap.
In simple words, basic science is the knowledge of the different disciplines of science. And as such, it includes Chemistry, Physics, Biology (including Botany and Zoology), and even Mathematics. Further, basic science also extends to the subdisciplines of the subjects that are mentioned earlier.
Basic Science focuses on the theoretical aspects, while Applied Science works on implementing basic science knowledge in our day-to-day lives.
What is the Primary Role of Basic Science?
At first glance, it may appear that Applied Science may hold more value than Basic Science. This deduction may arise out of the practical or specific application of the former. However, Basic Science plays a fundamental role wherein it acts as a conduit connecting Applied Science to the intended solution.
Here, we will take a look at the primary role of basic science.
Basic Science is the Bedrock of All Sciences
Scientific discoveries or breakthroughs do not take place as an isolated event in a vacuum. It is a result of the constant contribution and evolution of basic science. Research that may be centuries-old could fuel the latest discovery that may be the need of the hour. As such, basic science caters to futuristic needs and ensures that we have the necessary knowledge or resources to deal with it.
For instance, let us consider the current race for the COVID-19 vaccine. The origins of virology can be traced back to 1892 when Dmitri Ivanovsky discovered the tobacco mosaic virus from an infected tobacco leaf’s sap. Even today, scientists are banking on the knowledge base created since 1892 to find a way to defeat the Coronavirus and safeguard public health. One cannot even imagine a situation where we would have to start from scratch!
Connecting the Past, Present, and Future
In continuation with the above point, Basic Science connects past, present, and future in a linear and non-linear fashion. Basic Science is driven through curiosity, and the observations that it might discharge could sometimes be way ahead of its time.
Hence, the connection is pretty straightforward and linear – the discovery waits until the world catches up. On the other hand, it could have a domino effect and unlock infinite possibilities, covering future or present requirements, demonstrating its non-linear effect.
Enhancing Culture and Boosting Economies
Consider an era where you once thought that the Earth was at the center of the universe, and someone recently proved that we live in a heliocentric universe! Naturally, you will be left speechless with this Basic Science knowledge.
Science changes our overall outlook and attitude towards everything around us. And in addition to shaping the overall culture, it also leads to stimulating the economy in several ways. Obviously, the discovery of electromagnetic waves and their role in telecommunication, along with the invention of television, is bound to create a market for such products!
Nurturing Science and Scientific Temperament
Basic Science creates a feedback loop for science. When you see the linear and non-linear interlinks between theories and discoveries, you will notice that basic science lays the foundation upon which applied sciences builds further. Additionally, it grooms scientists and researchers to adopt a problem-solving mindset that boosts its growth, refinement, and development. In the process, it builds an academic network where several individuals come together to solve an issue.
Medical Sciences: Definition and Importance
By now, we have a strong understanding of what is the primary role of basic science. So, we move on to medical science, more specifically, basic medical science.
One can think of medical science as a subset of biology. As such, medical science, by definition, is a derivative of basic science.
Basic Medical Science primarily refers to research and development in the field of medicine. Once again, it may not necessarily serve any pressing matter. In fact, it could involve a generalized study of anatomy, physiology, psychology, pathology, virology, bacteriology, or biochemistry, etc.
Regardless, any insights extracted by Medical Science today could lead to groundbreaking discoveries in the future. It also mitigates the impact of chronic health disorders as medical science constantly seeks to understand the condition and find ways to inhibit it. Having an in-depth understanding of Basic Sciences and Basic Medical Sciences can enrich your resume and help you land a coveted spot when you seek jobs for doctors.
Medical Sciences can enhance our lives in the following ways:
- It improves the overall standard and quality of life, as well as life expectancy.
- It helps in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, ailments, and conditions.
- It breaks down the molecular mechanism of any disease and contributes to the development of drugs and pharmaceuticals.
- In addition to curative healthcare, Basic Medical Sciences sow the seeds of preventive healthcare.
- It educates researchers, doctors, scientists, and even laypersons on how to live a healthy life.
- It develops a fundamental understanding of medical science principles, which may come in handy at a later stage.
Whether you are a distinguished doctor or a medical researcher, Basic Medical Sciences have played a pivotal role in defining how you operate.
As an acknowledgment of the same, documents like the Flexner’s Report introduced reforms to inject basic science knowledge in medical science studies. And even though practicing physicians do not consciously use basic science, you will find verified doctors who draw from this knowledge of basic principles.
In conclusion, basic science and applied science are two sides of the same coin, and one cannot exist without the other.