This blog post points out a lot of the cultural differences between math people and biology people. I’ve been commenting on this kind of thing for a long time now with respect to the cultural divide between biologists and computer scientists. Of course I work in a computational biochemistry lab and know many bioinformatics people, but I am convinced that these computer people are anomalous in biology.

I believe that to some extent most people go into biology as a career as a result of an aversion to computers.

Engineers, culturally, don’t have this problem; they see computers as tools that do what computers can do and learn what needs to be learned. They certainly wouldn’t avoid pursuing a career in engineering because they realize a bit of computer comprehension might be required. Economists and finance people, same. Even musicians seem ready to take advantage of computers where possible. But biologists seem to be very stressed to find out that, hey, maybe learning to kludge together a Perl (still the favorite of biologists) script could move their research forward or open new avenues of progress.

I find it interesting that of the biology people I know who are the most capable of solving biology problems with computers, pretty much all have PhDs in physics. [Update 2014-01-07: Just met a few more physics PhDs doing biology with computers!]

UPDATE 2020-08-07