Chemistry is defined as a branch of science that deals with the study of matter: its structure, composition, properties, and the changes it undergoes under different conditions.
Matter is anything in nature which has mass/weight and occupies space. All forms of matter – whether natural or artificial are called chemical substances.
Branches Of Chemistry
There are three main branches of chemistry which can further be broken into another branch. These three main branches are dependent on the different classification of matter and its study.
Since matter is classified into living and non-living, its study can be grouped into three as follows:
This branch of chemistry deals with the study of the structure, composition and properties of living matter and their derivatives.
This branch of chemistry deals with the study of the structure, composition and properties of non-living matter and their derivatives.
This branch of chemistry deals with the study of the changes that matter (both living and non-living) undergoes under different conditions.
Besides the above-mentioned branches of chemistry, there are other sub-branches of chemistry which will be studied as we progress.
The Scientific Methods
The Scientific methods are series of procedures and principles undertaken by scientists for the systematic pursuit of knowledge which involves the recognition and formulation of problem, and the collection of data through observation and experiments, to arrive at a reasonable and agreeable conclusion.
The procedures and principles undertaken by scientists are as follows:
- Postulates: These are the assumptions usually put forward to support a scientific claim that has not be proven to be correct. Postulate basically is something that is assumed to be true without proof. This is the basis for all scientific processes.
- Hypothesis: A hypothesis is a proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation in support of a given postulate. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it.
- Theory: A theory usually comes into play when a hypothesis has been made. It is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world and universe based on the hypothesis, that has been repeatedly tested and corroborated in accordance with the scientific method, using accepted protocols of observation, measurement, and evaluation of results.
- Law: This is the final stage of the scientific method. This is a statement that describes experimental facts which has undergone several scrutiny and experiments to arrive at conclusion which is true. A scientific law never explains why something happens, only how something happens mathematically. Another word for a scientific law is a principle.
Generally, as a result of postulates made, scientists begin with a hypothesis, which is sort of a guess of what might happen. When the scientists investigate the hypothesis, they follow a line of reasoning and eventually formulate a theory. Once a theory has been tested thoroughly and is accepted, it becomes a scientific law.
Importance / Application of Chemistry
Chemistry is an importance branch of science that has really helped us the following ways:
- It makes us to learn how to investigate the pattern of behaviour of several groups of substances around us.
- Through research in chemistry, fertilizers and insecticides have been produced to help increase food production, preservation and storage with a view to eradicating malnutrition.
- Chemistry has helped in the production of synthetic fibres (textiles) used for wide range of clothing materials which are cheaper than the natural cotton materials.
- In the field of transportation, chemistry has made possible the production of suitable fuels for the different types of engines.
Effects Of Chemistry
The fact that chemistry has been said to be useful to man does not mean that it does not have its effect. The following are the possible effects of chemistry to man and his environment:
- Some chemical products are considered to be pollutants since they make our environment unclean and endanger the lives of plants and animals.
- Medicinal drugs which are products of chemistry when abused could be harmful and have adverse effects on one’s health.
Career Opportunities In Chemistry
There are so many career opportunities open to person with a good knowledge of chemistry. These opportunities include working in:
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Bulk commodity chemical companies
- Food manufacturing companies
- Paints, plastics, coating, etc. companies
- Personal, baby and household care product company
- Petroleum companies / industries