What is Chemistry? What are the main branches? What is its Importance and Scope?
WWhen you hear the word ‘chemistry,’ there are certain images that come to mind – a colorful lab, colored liquids, different smells – good or bad (Ugh!!), glass wares, test tubes, the periodic table, molecules, maybe even some cool explosions (BOOM!), magic tricks in a movie…..But chemistry is so much more than these things… in fact, chemistry is known as the central science, because it touches all other natural sciences, like biology, physics, geology, stretches from our kitchen to the moon, and more….
The history of chemistry represents a time span from ancient times to the present. By 1000 BC, civilizations used technologies that would eventually form the basis of the various branches of chemistry.
For example – extracting metals from ores, making pottery and glazes, fermenting beer and wine, extracting chemicals from plants for medicines, dyes and perfumes, rendering fat into soap, making glass, and making alloys like bronze.
So, now finally…
WHAT IS CHEMISTRY?
- Every thing in the world is made up of matter. Matter can be anything which occupies space and has mass.
- Chemistry deals with the composition, structure and properties of matter. The basic constituents of matter are atoms and molecules. This is why chemistry is called the science of atoms and molecules.
“Chemistry is defined as the study of the composition, structure and properties of matter and the reaction by which one form of matter may be converted into another form.””(a) Can we see, weigh and perceive these entities?(b) Is it possible to count the number of atoms and molecules in a given amount of matter and have a quantitative relationship between the mass and number of these particles (atoms and molecules)?Without answers to these questions, we can not study the composition, structure and properties of matter. Chemistry also tells us how physical properties of matter can be quantitatively described using numerical values with suitable units.
MAIN BRANCHES OF CHEMISTRY
- Physical Chemistry – The branch of chemistry that deals with the structure of matter, energy changes and theories, laws and principles that explains the transformation of matter from one form to another.
- Inorganic Chemistry – The branch of chemistry that deals with the chemistry of elements other than carbon and of their compound.
- Organic Chemistry – The branch of chemistry that deals with the reactions of the compounds of carbon.
- Analytical Chemistry – The branch of chemistry that deals with the separation, identification and quantitative determination of the compositions of different substances.
- Bio-chemistry – The branch of chemistry that deals with the chemistry of the substances consisting of living organisms.
Although we divide science into different fields, there is a lot of overlapping amongst them. For example, some biologists and chemists work in both fields so much that their work is called biochemistry. Similarly, geology and chemistry overlap in the field called geochemistry.
In practice, chemical research is often not limited to just one of the five major disciplines. I can give you a personal experience to explain this. My PhD research topic was related to ternary complexes of heavy metals with biologically important ligands such as nucleosides, nucleotides and amino acids. The formation of these bio-inorganic complexes is a field of inorganic chemistry, then proceed to analyze these complexes using methods that would pertain to the areas of physical or analytical chemistry. but their effects on the animal body are related to the zoological field. So, the research field was related to the physio- chemical studies of bio-inorganic compounds. Many chemists specialize in areas that are combinations of the main disciplines, such as bio-inorganic chemistry or physical organic chemistry.
IMPORTANCE AND SCOPE OF CHEMISTRY
5. Materials and so on…
There is a long list covering almost everything, shows the importance of chemistry in our life.
- Chemistry deals with the composition, structure and properties of matter and the changes it undergoes and considers both macroscopic and microscopic information.
- Matter can be anything which occupies space and has mass.
- The five main branches of chemistry are physical chemistry, organic chemistry, Inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry and biochemistry.
- Many civilizations contributed to the growth of chemistry. A lot of early chemical research focused on practical uses. Basic chemistry theories were developed during the nineteenth century. New materials and batteries are a few of the products of modern chemistry.
- Due to the amount of time chemistry takes up on the timeline, science is split into four general chronological categories, which are –
- Prehistoric Times
- Beginning of the Christian era – 300 BC – end of 17th century (alchemy)
- The end of 17th century – mid 19th century (traditional chemistry) -1700’s
- Mid-19th century – present (modern chemistry).