What is Chemistry?

What is Chemistry? Thumbnail

A boy doing experiments in the laboratory.

Everywhere around you some or the other phenomena related to Chemistry is taking place and you might even be oblivious to most of them. Chemistry can be succinctly described as the study of what makes up matter and how matter behaves due to its composition. Chemistry enables us to explain the changes that keep happening all the time: from the leaves on a tree changing their color during autumn to the coffee changing the mood of daily commuters; understanding what Chemistry is will help you understand these changes.

Chemistry: the science of change

Chemistry is the science which describes the transformation of matter. Atoms are the basic building blocks of all matter. They are able to exhibit the properties of that particular chunk of matter, of which they are a basic unit, on their own. Most of the changes are concerned with the interaction of atoms. In order to get sufficient information about how atoms interact with each other, we make use of the principles and laws of chemistry. How fast a change is taking place, till what extent will a change happen, in what ratio will we get the various products of a change, etc. are all the questions that chemistry tries to address.

Chemistry is about order

Chemistry helps to explain the arrangement of atoms in space. On magnifying the table salt that we use daily to make our food taste better, we will find that it is actually a crystal with a very peculiar arrangement of the constituent particle. They occur in nature in a well-defined geometric arrangement by themselves. What can possibly force these small particles to adopt a particular position in the crystal structure? Chemistry helps to explain this order and arrangement.

…And about chaos

The other face of chemistry is that of chaos. It isn’t the general hullabaloo that occupies our daily lives. It can be a simple observation that as soon as you press on the deodorant can, the pressurized gases flow out in a rapid stream. The pressurized gases move from inside the can to outside very fast but they don’t go back in, do they? That must mean the pressurized gases have a greater tendency to escape out of the can than to flow inside or stay inside the small container. It is a neat observation that chemistry helps in comprehending. Outside the container the pressurized gases occupy a larger volume, the particles are more scattered and, thus, more chaotic. This obsession of the change being driven towards the situation which leads more chaos in the environment is a basic tenet in chemistry.

Why is Chemistry important?

The principles of chemistry are applied in a wide array of industries, be it in agriculture or steel industry or even in the development of life-saving medicines and life-taking chemical weapons! The changes that take place within our body and those inside a rocket which propels it into space are all described with the help of chemistry. Thus, understanding Chemistry can help you understand the world around you.

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