10 Things You Need To Know About Chemistry

Basic Chemistry Facts for Beginners

Are you new to the science of chemistry? Chemistry may seem complex and intimidating, but once you understand a few basics, you'll be on your way to experimenting and understanding the chemical world. Here are ten important things you need to know about chemistry.

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Chemistry Is the Study of Matter and Energy

Chemistry is the study of matter.
Chemistry is the study of matter. American Images Inc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Chemistry, like physics, is a physical science that explores the structure of matter and energy and the way the two interact with each other. The basic building blocks of matter are atoms, which join together to form molecules. Atoms and molecules interact to form new products through chemical reactions.

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Chemists Use the Scientific Method

Serious chemist analyzing chemical in test tube
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Chemists and other scientists ask and answer questions about the world in a very specific way: the scientific method. This system helps scientists design experiments, analyze data, and arrive at objective conclusions.

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There Are Many Branches of Chemistry

Biochemists study DNA and other biological molecules.
Biochemists study DNA and other biological molecules. Cultura/KaPe Schmidt/Getty Images

Think of chemistry as a tree with many branches. Because the subject is so vast, once you get past an introductory chemistry class, you'll explore different branches of chemistry, each with its own focus.

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The Coolest Experiments Are Chemistry Experiments

The rainbow of colored fire was made using common household chemicals to color the flames.
The rainbow of colored fire was made using common household chemicals to color the flames. Anne Helmenstine

It's hard to disagree with this because any awesome biology or physics experiment could be expressed as a chemistry experiment! Atom smashing? Nuclear chemistry. Flesh-eating bacteria? Biochemistry. Many chemists say the lab component of chemistry is what got them interested in science, not just chemistry, but all aspects of science.

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Chemistry Is a Hands-On Science

You can make slime using chemistry.
You can make slime using chemistry. Gary S Chapman/Getty Images

If you take a chemistry class, you can expect there to be a lab component to the course. This is because chemistry is as much about chemical reactions and experiments as it is about theories and models. In order to understand how chemists explore the world, you'll need to understand how to take measurements, use glassware, use chemicals safely, and record and analyze experimental data.

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Chemistry Takes Place in a Lab and Outside the Lab

This female chemist is holding a flask of liquid.
This female chemist is holding a flask of liquid. Compassionate Eye Foundation/Tom Grill, Getty Images

When you picture a chemist, you may envision a person wearing a lab coat and safety goggles, holding a flask of liquid in a laboratory setting. Yes, some chemists work in labs. Others work in the kitchen, in the field, in a plant, or in an office.

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Chemistry Is the Study of Everything

Planet Earth Against Black Background
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Everything you can touch, taste, or smell is made of matter. You could say matter makes up everything. Alternatively, you could say everything is made of chemicals. Chemists study matter, therefore chemistry is the study of everything, from the smallest particles to the largest structures.

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Everyone Uses Chemistry

Whole and sliced red apples on dark wood
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You need to know the basics of chemistry, even if you aren't a chemist. No matter who you are or what you do, you work with chemicals. You eat them, you wear them, the drugs you take are chemicals, and the products you use in daily life all consists of chemicals.

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Chemistry Offers Many Employment Opportunities

Beakers with solution on shelf in lab
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Chemistry is a good course to take to fulfill a general science requirement because it exposes you to math, biology, and physics along with principles of chemistry. In college, a chemistry degree can act as a springboard to numerous exciting careers, not just as a chemist.

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Chemistry Is in the Real World, Not Just the Lab

Drinking Glasses On Wooden Table
Nawarit Rittiyotee/EyeEm/Getty Images

Chemistry is a practical science as well as a theoretical science. It is often used to design products real people use and to solve real-world problems. Chemistry research may be pure science, which helps us to understand how things work, contributes to our knowledge, and help us make predictions about what will happen. Chemistry may be applied science, where chemists use this knowledge to make new products, improve processes, and solve problems.