I posed this question earlier today on Twitter and have already garnered a good number of responses.
STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – is the acronym used by educators, researchers, and funding agencies focused on fundamental science. The US National Science Foundation, the primarily US STEM funding agency, states:
As described in our strategic plan, NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences.
My reason for asking is that I was going to write a post that would include the statement, “STEM, medicine, and the allied health professions,” but didn’t want it to seem redundant if some of our readership considers medical sciences to fall under STEM.
I’m also trying to figure how to classify myself as a pharmacologist. Departments of pharmacology are most commonly in colleges of medicine and, to a lesser extent, in colleges of pharmacy – certainly not in colleges of arts & sciences.
However, pharmacology is really the classical incarnation of what today is called “chemical biology” by the people who’ve discovered that chemists are essential to translating genomic biology into drugs. (Regular readers will recall that my nymsake, pharmacologist Dr John Jacob Abel, was co-founder of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.). So, while many of my compatriots would consider themselves chemists and biologists, we would conceivable fall outside the STEM disciplines. Correct?
Among Twitter responders this morning, Dr Joanne Manaster at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (@sciencegoddess), notes that 75% of her students are pre-med. Particularly in departments of biology, a large proportion of students are preparing for medical school.
So, is biology a STEM discipline if so many biology students clearly do not plan to be biologists at the BS, MS, or PhD level?
How about a survey?:
Please register your comments below as well, especially if you have links to sources that more precisely define STEM. And have a great Sunday (for readers on this side of the International Date Line).