8 Reasons Why Chemical Reactions Are Important

Chemical Reactions Change the Universe

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Chemical reactions are one of the most important types of events in the universe. It's through chemical reactions that plants grow, process food, and become compost for new plants. It's because of chemical reactions that human beings (and all other animals) reproduce, digest, grow, heal, and think. But what exactly are chemical reactions? Why are they so important?

What Chemical Reactions Are

Elements are the basic substances that make up matter in the universe.

Each element is a chemical. Elements that form bonds are called molecules. An oxygen molecule, for example, has two oxygen atoms. Chemical reactions occur when molecules interact and change. Bonds between atoms in molecules break and are reformed in new ways. 

Chemical reactions are at the heart of virtually every physical and biological process in the universe. Stars form because of chemical reactions; our sun ignited because of chemical reactions in its core. Life developed on Earth as a result of chemical reactions. The "circle of life" is, at its heart, a series of chemical reactions. Even our ability to think and move is a result of chemical reactions that occur in our bodies.

8 Reasons Why Chemical Reactions Are Important

Chemical reactions are the reason we exist on the Earth, and, of course, they are the reason we are able to ask questions. In addition:

  1. Chemical reactions are how new forms of matter are made. While nuclear reactions also may produce new matter, nearly all the substances you encounter in daily life are the result of chemical changes.
  1. Chemical reactions help us understand the properties of matter. By studying the way a sample interacts with other matter, we can learn its chemical properties. These properties can be used to identify an unknown specimen or to predict how types of matter might react with each other.
  2. By observing chemical reactions, we are able to understand and explain how the natural world works. Chemical reactions turn food into fuel for your body, make fireworks explode, cause food to change when it is cooked, make soap remove grime, and much more.
  1. Exciting and entertaining chemical reactions pique interest in science. These types of demonstrations encourage people to ask questions and may lead them into science-related careers.
  2. Chemical reactions help us to solve crimes and explain mysteries. By analyzing blood and tissue samples, for example, police are able to identify the perpetrators of crimes. Chemical reactions are also the tools we use to date fossils, analyze ancient materials, and better understand how our ancestors lived.
  3. By observing chemical reactions in outer space, we are able to identify and describe other planets. We can even determine which planets and moons are likely to be able to sustain life.
  4. Fire, the most important discovery made by human beings, is simply a chemical reaction.
  5. Without chemical reactions, nothing would ever change. Atoms would stay atoms. New molecules wouldn't form. No organisms could live. If matter didn't react with other matter, the universe would be extremely boring!
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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "8 Reasons Why Chemical Reactions Are Important." ThoughtCo, Jan. 23, 2018, thoughtco.com/importance-of-chemical-reactions-604047. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2018, January 23). 8 Reasons Why Chemical Reactions Are Important. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/importance-of-chemical-reactions-604047 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "8 Reasons Why Chemical Reactions Are Important." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/importance-of-chemical-reactions-604047 (accessed February 17, 2018).