Monday, June 6, 2011

chemistry - what is chemistry, what is physics, physics, technology, biology

Chemistry (the etymology of the word has been much disputed) is the science of matter and the changes it undergoes. The science of matter is also addressed by physics, but while physics takes a more general and fundamental approach, chemistry is more specialized, being concerned with the composition, behavior (or reaction), structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions. It is a physical science which studies various substances, atoms, molecules, crystals and other aggregates of matter whether in isolation or combination, and which incorporates the concepts of energy and entropy in relation to the spontaneity of chemical processes.

Disciplines within chemistry are traditionally grouped by the type of matter being studied or the kind of study. These include inorganic chemistry, the study of inorganic matter; organic chemistry, the study of organic (carbon based) matter; biochemistry, the study of substances found in biological organisms; physical chemistry, the study of chemical processes using physical concepts such as thermodynamics and quantum mechanics; and analytical chemistry, the analysis of material samples to gain an understanding of their chemical composition and structure. Many more specialized disciplines have emerged in recent years, e.g. neurochemistry the chemical study of the nervous system (see subdisciplines).  Read More

Examples of Chemical Changes
  • burning wood
  • dissolving salt in water
  • mixing acid and base
  • digesting food

Examples of Physical Changes
  • crumpling a sheet of paper
  • melting an ice cube
  • casting silver in a mold
  • breaking a bottle

How to Tell?
Look for an indication that a chemical change occurred. Chemical reactions release or absorb heat or other energy or may produce a gas, odor, color or sound. If you don't see any of these indications, a physical change likely occurred.

In some cases, it may be hard to tell whether a chemical or physical change occurred. For example, when you dissolve sugar in water, a physical change occurs. The form of the sugar changes, but it remains the same chemically (sucrose molecules). However, when you dissolve salt in water the salt dissociates into its ions (from NaCl into Na+ and Cl-) so a chemical change occurs. In both cases a white solid dissolves into a clear liquid and in both cases you can recover the starting material by removing the water, yet the processes are not the same.  Read More

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