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WHAT IS CHEMISTRY?

Chemistry is a collective term that is used by scientists and even in school. When this term is mentioned, what comes in your mind are test tubes, Bunsen burners, chemicals such as acids and bases as well as a recent explosion that you have seen in a movie. Chemistry is a broad topic that is at the center of all other disciplines of study, such as biology, physics, geography, etc. Therefore, we are obliged to ask, what is chemistry then?

Chemistry is a branch of natural and physical sciences that aims to study the properties and relationship between matters and energy. It defines how matter matters by separating or combining to form a new matter. Noting that, let’s discuss some of the standard terms that are used in this interactions of the matter and energy.

Common terminologies in Chemistry

Matter

The matter is something that is made up of particles and has mass and volume. Although the particles which build up the mater may have a rest mass, some of the particles like the proton do not have. A matter can be a book, pen, metal, etc. Generally, a matter can be a chemical substance or a lot of mixtures of substances.

Atom

Atom is the smallest entity in chemistry that takes place in the chemical reaction. An atom has a nucleus which has positively charged protons, negatively charged electrons, and the uncharged neutrons. The electrons are located in the electron cloud which surrounds the nucleus. Atom retains the chemical properties of an element. Such chemical properties include the type of bonds, oxidation state, ionization potential, and the electronegativity among others.

Molecule

A molecule is the smallest unit of a pure chemical substance that is indivisible as it retains its unique properties during chemical reactions.

Element

An element is a pure chemical substance that has only one type of an atom with atomic number represented by the letter Z. The atomic number is the number of protons (positively charged) that are found in the nucleus of an element’s atom. A mass number of an element refers to the total number of the protons and the neutrons a particular element have. When different atoms of an element have different mass numbers, they are referred to as isotopes.

Compound

A compound is a pure chemical substance that consists of a mixture of elements bearing similar properties as the elements. An example of a compound is carbon, nitrogen, etc.

Bonding

Bonding is the sticking together of atoms with molecules or crystals. There are different types of bonds such as ionic bonds, covalent bonds, hydrogen bonds, van der Waals forces, etc.

Those are some of the common terminologies that are used in the study of the chemical reactions and properties.

History of Chemistry

Although learning chemistry may feel new and shiny, chemistry has a rich history which can be traced back in the 17th century by one of the prominent advocate known as Robert Boyle. Robert Boyle believed that for a modern chemistry theory to be proved as truth, it had to be passed under rigorous experiments and tests. However, it existed a long time ago through the extraction of plant medicines, metals from their ores and also making of soaps and pottery.

Concepts of chemistry

Chemistry is governed by numerous concepts such as dynamics, energetics, synthesis, composition, and structure.

Dynamics

This refers to the rearrangement that occurs to the atoms of an element during the chemical change. Dynamics affect the rate by which this chemical change occurs.

>Energetics

This refers to the thermodynamics of the change in the chemical, especially that related to heat. It also provides the direction of these changes as well as the mixture of the chemical substances.

Composition and structure

The composition is the substance or mixture of substances that take place in a chemical change. The structure is the arrangement of these atoms in the space which is determined by dynamics and energetics.

Synthesis

This refers to the formation of new substances during the chemical change. It is through synthesis that a waste product is isolated from the desired product.

General Characteristics

Chemistry is generally characterized by the following properties, changes, and natural laws.

Chemistry is everywhere

Chemicals exist in everything we touch. These chemicals are mostly natural though others may be artificial.

Chemistry is everything

Everything you do is chemistry. Whether cooking or running, there is a chemical processing that is underlying within that chemical change.

Chemistry is both qualitative and quantitative

As scientists and chemists make new improvement on the quality, they will need to utilize more quantitative time or resources to foresee that improvement.

Chemistry improves our world

The study of chemistry has seen high levels in our societal improvements. For example, the discovery of new medicines has enabled treatments of modern diseases which is a step ahead in chemistry research.

Branches of Chemistry

There are mainly five branches with different study area:

Organic chemistry

Organic chemistry is also known as the “chemistry of life.” This is the branch that explains the compounds that contain carbon as their elements which makes complex compounds that exist in every part of an organism.

Physical

Physical chemistry is a branch that combines chemistry and physics to explain further the relationship between matter and energy. Some of the main sub-branches are quantum chemistry and thermodynamics.

Analytical

This branch of tries to explain the quantitative and qualitative observations that exist in the chemical processes and changes.

Inorganic

This is a branch that aims to study the compound that does not contain carbon in its makeup. These compounds include gases and metals.

Biochemistry

This branch studies all the chemical reactions or processes that occur in the body of living organisms such as animals and plants. The term biochemistryis derived from two natural sciences, biology and chemistry.

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