What is Chemistry?
Chemistry is the science that helps us learn
about the material world around us, from the
tiniest particles within our bodies to the largest
objects in the universe. Chemistry is studied and
applied by many women and men, conducted in a
variety of different situations, and used in numerous ways.
Chemistry involves the study of materials. It is the study of
the basic structure of matter: what substances are made of,
their properties, how they act, and how they interact.
Chemicals are found everywhere: in our bodies, the air we
breathe, the water we drink, our clothes, CDs, books, sports
equipment, and cars. The list goes on and on!
Why Study Chemistry?
A chemistry course is your ticket to understanding the world
around you! It can also lead to an exciting career. From
agriculture to zoology, from production to sales, in a forest,
on a highway, or in a hospital, chemistry is everywhere and
touches our lives in countless ways!
Chemistry can be interesting and fun, too. Understanding
chemicals—whether those in your own home or at a
chemical plant—will be important to you throughout your
life. You will need to make decisions about what cars to buy,
medications to take, and legislation that affects your
environment. Having a good understanding of the chemistry
involved will help you make the best choice for your lifestyle.
What is a Chemist?
The work of a chemist can be challenging and exciting.
Most chemists work in laboratories equipped with state-
of-the-art instruments. Chemists make new materials
and discover ways to use known materials for new
purposes. Chemists help make everyday products such
as deodorants, plastic materials, and food products;
they help look for cures to arrest diseases such as AIDS;
and improve our food, air, and water. They work to
answer such questions as “How old is the earth?” and
“What is happening to our environment?”
Most chemists are involved in either research and
development or production. Research is the process of