Life science is a term that encompasses all scientific pursuits to living organisms. Often referred to as biology, it is concerned with such topics as the characteristics, classification, and behaviors of organisms, how species come into existence, and the interactions they have with each other and with the natural environment. Biology encompasses a broad spectrum of academic fields that are often viewed as independent disciplines. However, together they address phenomena related to living organisms (biological phenomena) over a wide range of scales, from biophysics to ecology.
Many of the sub-disciplines of biology, such as botany, zoology, and medicine are ancient. However, biology as a unified science first developed in the nineteenth century, as scientists discovered that all living things shared certain fundamental characteristics and were best studied as a whole. Today biology is one of the most prominent scientific fields. Over a million papers are published annually in a wide array of biology and medicine journals, and biology is a standard subject of instruction at schools and universities around the world.