Chemistry involves the study of matter, and its properties. It studies why and how substances separate or combine to form many other substances, and how these substances often interact and...
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.
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.
Principles of Chemistry
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 used in many applications.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Current Events in Chemistry: Trends in the Field It's no secret that the world is more technological now than ever before. That's usually seen as an engineering accomplishment, but chemistry...
With years of training in the natural elements, their composition, and their properties, chemists can hold an array of jobs in modern society. Chemistry is a basic scientific composition in...
Agrochemistry Agrochemistry aims to understand and control the processes through which homo sapiens acquire fiber and food to feed themselves and their animal: including the life processes involved in obtaining...