Abstract
This paper offers a contribution to debates around integrative aspects of systems biology and engages with issues related to the circumstances under which physicists look at biological problems. We use oral history as one of the methodological tools to gather the empirical material, conducting interviews with physicists working in systems biology. The interviews were conducted at several institutions in Brazil, Germany, Israel and the U.S. Biological research has been increasingly dependent on computational methods, high-throughput technologies, and multidisciplinary skills. Quantitative scientists are joining biological departments and collaborations between physicists and biologists are particularly vigorous. This state of affairs raises a number of questions, such as: What are the circumstances under which physicists approach biological problems in systems biology? What kind of interdisciplinary challenges must be tackled? The paper suggests that, concerning physicists’ move to work on biological systems, there are common reasons to move, the transition must be understood in terms of degrees, physicists have a rationale for simplifying systems, and distinct conceptions of model and modeling strategies are recurrent. We identified problems regarding linguistic clarity and integration of epistemological aims. We conclude that cultural unconformities within the systems biology community have important consequences to the flow of scientific knowledge.
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DOI 10.1007/s13194-019-0254-8
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Minimal Model Explanations.Robert W. Batterman & Collin C. Rice - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (3):349-376.
Genes.Philip Kitcher - 1982 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 33 (4):337-359.
Sanctioning Models: The Epistemology of Simulation.Eric Winsberg - 1999 - Science in Context 12 (2):275-292.

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