What Is Chemistry?

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Chemistry is a physical science that studies the spontaneous reactions that occur between two or more chemicals, or the chemical makeup of various organic and inorganic objects. Before chemistry came about in the 1700s, people studied alchemy, which was relatively similar but had less of a scientific basis. There are a number of disciplines within chemistry that are mainly divided by the things that are studied, whether they are organic, inorganic or physical attributes of an object or a reaction between them.

Significance

  • Chemistry is often referred to as "the central science" because of its importance in linking the more specialized sciences, such as physics, astrology and biology. Each of these disciplines of science has something related to chemistry because the very nature of everything in the galaxy is based on the interactions between its chemical elements. For a physicist to understand many things in his field, knowledge of physical chemistry must be known, for example.

History

  • Chemistry began from man's desire to study entropy, which was seen when wood was burned. This understanding led to the knowledge of creating various metals, which helped bring about beneficial changes in society. In the Middle East, alchemists began to study chemicals and keep detailed notes on their findings. They are considered the first "chemists." In Europe, chemistry developed in the Dark Ages from a need to find medicine to help combat the plague. In the 1700s, changes in practices of science and the development of new theories led to a chemical revolution late in the century. From them on, chemistry developed and grew as elements were discovered even through the 1900s. Synthetic elements were also discovered, and tests on the relationships between these elements were studied in depth.

Types

  • The different types of chemistry are also known as subdisciplines of the science. There are eight main subdisciplines and a number of others that are thought to further develop these types and break them into smaller areas of concentration. Some of the major types of chemistry are inorganic and organic chemistry, physical chemistry, materials chemistry, theoretical chemistry, biochemistry, nuclear chemistry and analytical chemistry. Other smaller concentrations include astrochemistry and electrochemistry.

Function

  • Chemistry works first by studying the basic makeup of things in the universe. This is done through careful research of elements and their atoms, including the mass of the element and the number of protons and electrons in their atoms. The way various elemental atoms combine is then studied to understand the various compounds found in nature and those that can be created in a laboratory. Then, chemistry studies the reactions that occur when atoms, compounds or molecules are mixed together. The details of the compounds and atoms, including their acidity, pH levels and other characteristics, are combined with study of chemical reactions to make up the knowledge of chemistry.

Warning

  • Chemistry can be a very dangerous science to perform, even in a controlled laboratory setting. Some of the chemical reactions between elements and compounds can occur instantaneously and be detrimental to a person's health. This includes entropic reactions that result in fire or an explosion, or the creation of noxious gases or other dangers. It is important to always cover up with gloves, a lab coat and goggles when performing experiments or studies in chemistry and to understand the possible reactions that can occur from the experiment.

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