Mathematical Terms for Biologists

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The prominence of statistics in biology articles is overwhelming. Furthermore, biological articles are increasingly containing other mathematics and modeling techniques including, but not limited to, differential equations, graph theory, algorithms, and agent based models. Sometimes just knowing what the technique is and why it is usually used provides the reader of the article with enough information to extrapolate the idea of the article without necessarily knowing all of the mathematical details.

Mathematics is increasingly being used in a greater range of fields and mathematics students need to learn how to communicate these mathematical topics at an appropriate level. Many of the terms in this wiki are written by students in mathematics classes and the moderators highly encourage this. Editing of the wiki terms is also encouraged.

For those that use the terms section as a resource, please feel free to write comments at the bottom of the pages, offer feedback, and ways that specific page could be improved.


To search for a term, in the search box to the left type the following

Terms: *term searching*

Ex. Suppose a student was reading a scientific article in a biology class that used maximum likelihood estimates. To find out what these are, the student would type the following into the search box in the wiki,

Terms: Maximum Likelihood

The relevant page would then be listed. *If the page has not yet been created then the user has the option of logging in and creating it (see editing below).


To edit make sure that you are logged into the wiki. Simply search for the term you'd like to edit (see above). If the page exists, select edit at the top of the wiki page and edit the page. If the page does not exist then under "No Page Title Matches" is the following

There is no page titled "Terms: ***". You can create this page.

Click on "create this page" and edit away.