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What is Chemistry

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What is Chemistry

Post by Agrimony on Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:06 am

At one time it was easy to define chemistry. The traditional definition goes something like this: Chemistry is the study of the nature, properties, and composition of matter, and how these undergo changes. That served as a perfectly adequate definition as late as the 1930s, when natural science (the systematic knowledge of nature) seemed quite clearly divisible into the physical and biological sciences, with the former being comprised of physics, chemistry, geology and astronomy and the latter consisting of botany and zoology. This classification is still used, but the emergence of important important fields to study such as oceanography, paleobotany, meteorology, pharmacy and biochemistry, for example, have made it increasingly clear that the dividing lines between the sciences are no longer at all sharp. Chemistry, for instance, now overlaps so much with geology (thus we have geochemistry), astronomy (astrochemistry), and physics (physical and analytical chemistry) that it is probably impossible to devise a really good modern definition of chemistry, except, perhaps, to fall back on the operational definition: Chemistry is what chemists do!
Chemistry plays an important part in all of the other natural sciences, basic and applied. Plant growth and metabolism, the formation of igneous rocks, the role played by ozone in the atmosphere, the degradation of environmental pollutants, the properties of lunar soil, the medical action of drugs, establishment of forensic evidence: none of these can be understood without the knowledge and perspective provided by chemistry. Indeed, many people study chemistry so that they can apply it to their own particular field of interest. Of course, chemistry itself is the field of interest for many people, too. Many study chemistry not to apply it to another field, but simply to learn more about the physical world and the behaviour of matter from a chemical viewpoint. Some simply like "what chemists do" and so decide to "do it" themselves. Read More Here...

History of Chemistry
The earliest practical knowledge of chemistry was concerned with metallurgy, pottery, and dyes; these crafts were developed with considerable skill, but with no understanding of the principles involved, as early as 3500 B.C. in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The basic ideas of element and compound were first formulated by the Greek philosophers during the period from 500 to 300 B.C. Opinion varied, but it was generally believed that four elements (fire, air, water, and earth) combined to form all things. Aristotle's definition of a simple body as "one into which other bodies can be decomposed and which itself is not capable of being divided" is close to the modern definition of element.

About the beginning of the Christian era in Alexandria, the ancient Egyptian industrial arts and Greek philosophical speculations were fused into a new science. The beginnings of chemistry, or alchemy, as it was first known, are mingled with occultism and magic. Interests of the period were the transmutation of base metals into gold, the imitation of precious gems, and the search for the elixir of life, thought to grant immortality. Muslim conquests in the 7th cent. A.D. diffused the remains of Hellenistic civilization to the Arab world. The first chemical treatises to become well known in Europe were Latin translations of Arabic works, made in Spain c.A.D. 1100; hence it is often erroneously supposed that chemistry originated among the Arabs. Alchemy developed extensively during the Middle Ages, cultivated largely by itinerant scholars who wandered over Europe looking for patrons. Read More (Evolution of Modern Chemistry, Impact of the Atomic Theory) etc.

Periodic Table
The periodic table is a table of the chemical elements in which the elements are arranged by order of atomic number in such a way that the periodic properties (chemical periodicity) of the elements are made clear. The standard form of the table includes periods (usually horizontal in the periodic table) and groups (usually vertical). Elements in groups have some similar properties to each other. There is no one single or best structure for the periodic table but by whatever consensus there is, the form used here is very useful. The periodic table is a masterpiece of organized chemical information. The evolution of chemistry's periodic table into the current form is an astonishing achievement with major contributions from many famous chemists and other eminent scientists.

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