What Is Chemistry?

Chemistry is a physical science that deals with the study of matter, including its composition, structure, properties and changes. It is closely related with the study of physics because while chemistry focuses on the interactions of matter, especially electrons, physics concentrates on the changes made in the nucleus of the atom and other interactions in the subatomic sphere. Some of the topics discussed in chemistry include the transformations undergone by molecules to form chemical compounds, the changes undergone by the different phases of matter and the fascinating changes of oxidation-reduction reactions.

Chemistry helps us understand everything about the world. In fact, it is the science that links all other physical sciences like biology, physics and even geology. Our bodies are made up of matter and chemical processes are in action whenever we cook our food or grow our plants. Chemistry is the reason why we are able to make such things as soap, shampoos and other modern-day conveniences. In the realm of medicine, chemistry is part and parcel of the development of drugs that relieve pain and cure diseases. It’s no wonder then that chemistry is often referred to as “the central science.”

There are basically five branches of chemistry. When chemistry is combined with physics, this field of study is known as physical chemistry. It is concerned with the interaction of matter and energy, as discussed in thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. The second branch of chemistry deals with the identification and measurement of matter’s physical and chemical substances. This is known as analytical chemistry. Organic chemistry, on the other hand, is the third branch of chemistry. It is focused on the study of compounds containing carbon. On the other end of the spectrum, there is also chemistry that studies things that don’t contain carbon. This is known as inorganic chemistry. The last branch of chemistry is the fusion of biology and chemistry. Biochemistry is the field that takes a closer look at the chemical processes that are happening among living things.

In addition to these main branches, chemistry also has other specialized branches. These include neurochemistry which focuses on neurochemicals and their role in the nervous system; materials chemistry which is new field of study that deals with the understanding and preparation of substances that are useful and computational chemistry which is another new field that applies computer programs to solve chemical problems.

Students who are interested in chemistry can go into a number of careers where their knowledge and interest of this field can be put to good use. They can work as food chemists and do their share in enhancing the safety and taste of food. Environmental chemists are concerned with the interaction of chemicals and the environment. This is a career that will put them in a position to influence government policies and will help lessen the pollution and negative impact of human activities on the planet. Aspiring chemists who are fond of crop production can work as agricultural chemists in its fast-growing subfield of agricultural biotechnology. The latter focuses on the genetic manipulation of crops to achieve pest resistance or provide it with enhanced nutritional properties.

Career Spotlight: Chemist

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