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Chemistry (the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Chemist)


Chemistry is one of the fundamental sciences; something you're likely to take a class in either in high school or college as a foundation on which to build. It looks at how the principal parts of matter interact with each other at the molecular level. Elements and compounds -and the atoms and subatomic particles that create their structure- behave distinctly when exposed to each other as well as other environmental factors. By studying chemistry, we can determine and control exactly how reactions take place in order to create desired materials or learn how things work beyond what we can see with the naked eye. In this category of Direct Knowledge, you'll find chemistry articles explaining what chemistry is, where it originated, how it's applied to other areas, and how you can get involved in it.

Chemistry Articles on History and Background

The beginnings of chemistry started when people began using technologies that utilize chemical processes to function. Extracting certain resources like metals from ores, fermenting beverages, creating medicine from from plants, or making alloys, all required chemistry; even if the people performing these tasks weren't yet aware of it. Through investigating how to optimize these processes, people discovered the foundations of chemistry, and began expanding it through new discoveries and theories.

Some of these theories weren't the best, like alchemy and homeopathic medicines. But, by the 1700s, the term “chemistry” began to take on it's current meaning. It has continued to change in minor ways since then, settling in the 1900s into the term we know today; essentially, the science of the structure, properties, and reactions of substances. Now, chemistry experiences many discoveries, as well as contributes to discoveries in other fields. Medicine especially benefits from it, and we see those benefits in the revolutionary medicines being invented. The chemistry articles in this category can help keep you up to date on current events and developments such as these.

Articles on the Principles of Chemistry

Chemical Laws

Now, scientists recognize that chemical reactions are bound by a number of laws experimentally tested and proven through time. The laws of conservation of mass and energy relate to equilibrium thermodynamics, and kinetics. Avogadro's law relates the volume of gases to their temperature and pressure. A number of laws exist, most of them relating to physics given that chemical compounds are made of physical pieces interacting according to the laws of physics.

Fundamentals of Matter

Speaking of the fundamental physical elements; chemistry has led to the discovery and analysis of many atomic and subatomic particles. The atom is the basic unit of the field, containing a nucleus, electrons, protons, and neutrons. The number of each of these subatomic particles determines what type of atom it is and how it behaves at the most fundamental level.

When a substance is made purely out of atoms of a single type, it is a pure element. The primary characteristic that determines the element is the number of protons in the nuclei of the atoms. The number of protons will always be the same, but isotopes of the element may have a different number of neutrons. Compounds are then formed by joining one or more elements. A compound can have very different characteristics than either of the original elements. The chemistry articles in this category contain further details about these fundamentals so that you can build strong foundations in the subject.

Interactions Between the Fundamental Parts

What creates the rich assortment of objects, substances, and events in the universe all comes down to how the fundamental particles reach with one another (and with a few other things like gravity, time, and light). They go through phase changes, bonding, and even reactions. Reactions actually completely transform a chemical substance due to its interaction with another. Oxidation and reduction, together known as redox, are common reactions that break chemical bonds. Opposites like ions and salts or acids and bases play important roles in balancing many systems. Acid-base neutralization is a common chemical reaction with many applications.

Chemistry Articles on Modern Areas of Research and Application

Chemistry typically consists of a number of sub-disciplines in which scientists specialize. The following are some of the main fields that are popular today, but you can also find more information on the various topics by checking out the chemistry articles in this category.

Chemistry typically consists of a number of sub-disciplines in which scientists specialize. The following are some of the main fields that are popular today, but you can also find more information on the various topics by checking out the chemistry articles in this category.


In this area, scientists look at the chemical reactions and processes related to organisms. We all have chemical reactions and interactions occurring inside us, and understanding them can contribute to medicine and general health.

Inorganic and Organic Chemistry

There is some distinction between inorganic and organic disciplines, but often a lot of overlap. Organic compounds are those based on carbon, distinct primarily due to their chemical relationship with carbon-based life on Earth.

Physical Chemistry

This field relates closely to other physical areas of study such as thermodynamics, kinetics, mechanics, spectroscopy and more. Physics plays a big role in determining the physical reasons behind why and how chemical reactions occur.

Materials Chemistry

In materials chemistry, the science focuses on the utility of chemical substances. The creation of various materials with unique chemical properties enhances and optimizes useful functions.


Neurochemistry looks at chemicals in the nervous system of the body to see how it works on the molecular level. This helps us understand bodily functions, cure diseases, make medicines, and more.

Chemistry Articles for Professionals and Careers

This category of chemistry articles is not only great for students, but also recent grads and those looking for more information on careers. You'll learn that, as with many sciences, chemistry requires higher education of at least a bachelor's: potentially more depending on specific jobs. But this usually leads to good pay, with the median pay for chemists being about 78,000 dollars per year. If looking into becoming a chemist, expect laboratory and office work, and maybe some research or field work. There's no single way to go about it, as shown by some notable chemists, so just follow the path that best suits you.

Chemistry Books

Chemistry provides the chance to implement creativity alongside critical and analytical thinking. Interactions between substances might be governed by physical laws, but they are also so varied that they provide the opportunity to create new substances and processes that the world has never seen before. Chemists are constantly creating new things and helping advance technology and society; so what are you waiting for? Pick up a chemistry book and join them.

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Chemistry Books for Everyone

Chemistry is an interesting science that uses a great deal of math and physics, but don't let that scare you. Mastering chemistry just takes practice, and it gives you a wide range of skills and opens doors to many careers. Direct Knowledge can help you along the way with chemistry books tailored to making the most troublesome subjects a breeze.

Books for Beginners

You'll study the makeup and structure of atoms and molecules, learning how they give certain properties to the matter they create. There are lab manuals and guides to help you through experiments; from the classics to making your own, you can count on doing many in chemistry. But first, you'll need a base set of skills for performing and analyzing them. Even the most simple calculations using data and results from the experiments use all kinds of rules.

For example, chemists just starting off need to learn to use significant figures at all times. Metric units are also the norm, so Americans might have to makes some adjustments. But don't worry; you'll eventually know most of the formulas for conversions and values for common constants by heart. All you need is a lot of practice, which can be found in books of detailed explanations with practice questions.

One such book that is very fitting for beginners is General Chemistry: Principles, Patterns, and Applications. It offers students with little to no experience a toolkit for better understanding the most important topics in chemistry. This includes atom structures, states of matter, the periodic table, periodic trends, organic compounds, nuclear chemistry, and more. And in each chapter are essential-skills sections, end-of-chapter-reviews, and relevant examples and exercises.

Because much of what's in chemistry is not visible to the naked eye, pictures are a huge help. You'll learn to make and understand diagrams, and they'll become part of your study. Chemistry books at all levels, even the most advanced, will contain diagrams to help you understand what's happening in that tiny world.

Moving Up

As you get more advanced, you'll want to read chemistry books that do so as well. Chemistry 2e is a good book for intermediate learners, or those trying to add to the basic concepts discussed above. The topics in the book are commonly taught in standard chemistry courses in universities, so the book can help boost your grades in classes or review material from previous years you may have forgotten.

The examples in this book tie back to real-world applications and highlight how chemistry really works. Exercises also keep the reader engaged, and an answer key at the end of the book helps let you track your progress.

More Advanced Material

After mastering the basics, books can give you an up-close look at a range of chemistry subjects. You could start off with the periodic table, which might count as a basic itself. The table is a vital tool for understanding atomic and molecular structure of the many elements that apply to all other areas.

Then, chemical bonding is a subject that helps you understand how the elements interact. It can lead to more complicated areas like solutions and mixtures, acids and bases, and stoichiometry. Some really high-level material covers organic chemistry, biochemistry, electrochemistry, and thermochemistry.

Chemistry books on these topics are perfect for college students trying to get through classes and exams, or even for researchers and professionals looking to read up on the newest advancements. Whatever stage you're in, you'll find something to take you to the next level.

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