What is chemistry? Simply put, chemistry is the study of the interactions of matter with other matter and with energy. This seems straightforward enough. However, the definition of chemistry includes a wide range of topics that must be understood to gain a mastery of the topic or even take additional courses in chemistry. In this book, we will lay the foundations of chemistry in a topic-by-topic fashion to provide you with the background you need to successfully understand chemistry.
- 1.1: The Scope of Chemistry
- Chemistry is the study of matter and the ways in which different forms of matter combine with each other. You study chemistry because it helps you to understand the world around you. Everything you touch or taste or smell is a chemical, and the interactions of these chemicals with each other define our universe. Chemistry forms the fundamental basis for biology and medicine. From the structure of proteins and nucleic acids, to the design, synthesis and manufacture of drugs, chemistry allows you
- 1.2: Chemicals Compose Ordinary Things
- Chemistry is the branch of science dealing with the structure, composition, properties, and the reactive characteristics of matter. Matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. Thus, chemistry is the study of literally everything around us – the liquids that we drink, the gasses we breathe, the composition of everything from the plastic case on your phone to the earth beneath your feet. Moreover, chemistry is the study of the transformation of matter.
- 1.3: Hypothesis, Theories, and Laws
- Although all of us have taken science classes throughout the course of our study, many people have incorrect or misleading ideas about some of the most important and basic principles in science. We have all heard of hypotheses, theories, and laws, but what do they really mean? Before you read this section, think about what you have learned about these terms before. What do these terms mean to you? What do you read contradicts what you thought? What do you read supports what you thought?
- 1.4: The Scientific Method: How Chemists Think
- Science is a process of knowing about the natural universe through observation and experiment. Scientists go through a rigorous process to determine new knowledge about the universe; this process is generally referred to as the scientific method. Science is broken down into various fields, of which chemistry is one. Science, including chemistry, is both qualitative and quantitative.
- 1.5: A Beginning Chemist: How to Succeed
- Most people can succeed in chemistry, but it often requires dedication, hard work, the right attitude and study habits!