" Sketch a typical nerve cell showing the soma, axon, dendrites, and presynaptic terminals. What is a space-clamped experiment? Explain in what sense a nerve axon is excitable "
No. Just no. Seriously? Fuck you. The "mathematical" part of this course is hard enough without you throwing a straight-up biology question at me. I mean, I understand that it's called Math Biology but why the fuck should I be able to sketch a nerve cell? That doesn't have anything to do with the mathematics. I know that a nerve measures the amount of electric potential coming into the cell and if that amount goes higher than a certain value (the action-potential), the nerve shoots out a bunch of electricity. I imagine it as looking like this.
Dendrites (fingers) sum electric potential coming into the neuron (Palpatine). It diffuses to the soma (bad guy cloak). If it exceeds a threshold level or fails to turn to the Dark Side, the neuron (Palpatine) produces a short electrical spike (fucking lightning bolts) which is conducted along the axon (Luke Skywalker). I am pretty sure this is how the human body works.
The reason I know all these fun facts about nerve cells is because I NEED to know them to understand how the model works. What I don't need to know/really don't give a fuck about is:
1. What a nerve cell looks like
2. What it's different body parts are
3. What body part does what
4. Whether or not nerves are actually just microscopic Emperor Palpatines having temper tantrums inside of my body.
Here's a fun comparison: I wrote a paper that was heavily concerned MATHEMATICALLY with bunny rabbits dying and being born. I could not, however, draw for you a diagram of a bunny rabbit's sexybits even though sexybits are pretty important for rabbits to get born. Why can't I do this? Because it is completely unrelated to what I need to know.
Now it's time for things to get really messed up. My final is worth 100% of my mark in that course and it consists of three questions. Drawing a nerve cell would only be part of a question. But even if it's only worth one sixth to one third of a question, that's still 5%-10% of my final mark.
It's a good thing remembering diagrams and then drawing and labelling them is super-easy else I'd be even more pissed off than I am now.