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Chemistry is a branch of physical science that studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter. Chemistry includes topics such as the properties of individual atoms, how atoms form chemical bonds to create chemical compounds, the interactions of substances through intermolecular forces that give matter its general properties, and the interactions between substances through chemical reactions to form different substances.
Chemistry is sometimes called the central science because it bridges other natural sciences, including physics, geology and biology. For the differences between chemistry and physics see comparison of chemistry and physics.
Scholars disagree about the etymology of the word chemistry. The history of chemistry can be traced to alchemy, which had been practiced for several millennia in various parts of the world.
The word chemistry comes from alchemy, which referred to an earlier set of practices that encompassed elements of chemistry, metallurgy, philosophy, astrology, astronomy, mysticism and medicine. It is often seen as linked to the quest to turn lead or another common starting material into gold, though in ancient times the study encompassed many of the questions of modern chemistry being defined as the study of the composition of waters, movement, growth, embodying, disembodying, drawing the spirits from bodies and bonding the spirits within bodies by the early 4th century Greek-Egyptian alchemist Zosimos. An alchemist was called a 'chemist' in popular speech, and later the suffix "-ry" was added to this to describe the art of the chemist as "chemistry".
- Popular reading
- Introductory undergraduate text books
- Advanced undergraduate-level or graduate text books
- Avogadro's law
- Beer–Lambert law
Boyle's law (1662, relating pressure and volume)
Charles's law (1787, relating volume and temperature)
- Fick's laws of diffusion
Gay-Lussac's law (1809, relating pressure and temperature)
- Le Chatelier's principle
- Henry's law
- Hess's law
Law of conservation of energy leads to the important concepts of equilibrium, thermodynamics, and kinetics.
Law of conservation of mass continues to be conserved in isolated systems, even in modern physics. However, special relativity shows that due to mass–energy equivalence, whenever non-material "energy" (heat, light, kinetic energy) is removed from a non-isolated system, some mass will be lost with it. High energy losses result in loss of weighable amounts of mass, an important topic in nuclear chemistry.
Law of definite composition, although in many systems (notably biomacromolecules and minerals) the ratios tend to require large numbers, and are frequently represented as a fraction.
- Law of multiple proportions
- Raoult's law
Analytical chemistry is the analysis of material samples to gain an understanding of their chemical composition and structure. Analytical chemistry incorporates standardized experimental methods in chemistry. These methods may be used in all subdisciplines of chemistry, excluding purely theoretical chemistry.
Biochemistry is the study of the chemicals, chemical reactions and chemical interactions that take place in living organisms. Biochemistry and organic chemistry are closely related, as in medicinal chemistry or neurochemistry. Biochemistry is also associated with molecular biology and genetics.
Inorganic chemistry is the study of the properties and reactions of inorganic compounds. The distinction between organic and inorganic disciplines is not absolute and there is much overlap, most importantly in the sub-discipline of organometallic chemistry.
Materials chemistry is the preparation, characterization, and understanding of substances with a useful function. The field is a new breadth of study in graduate programs, and it integrates elements from all classical areas of chemistry with a focus on fundamental issues that are unique to materials. Primary systems of study include the chemistry of condensed phases (solids, liquids, polymers) and interfaces between different phases.
Neurochemistry is the study of neurochemicals; including transmitters, peptides, proteins, lipids, sugars, and nucleic acids; their interactions, and the roles they play in forming, maintaining, and modifying the nervous system.
Nuclear chemistry is the study of how subatomic particles come together and make nuclei. Modern Transmutation is a large component of nuclear chemistry, and the table of nuclides is an important result and tool for this field.
Organic chemistry is the study of the structure, properties, composition, mechanisms, and reactions of organic compounds. An organic compound is defined as any compound based on a carbon skeleton.
Physical chemistry is the study of the physical and fundamental basis of chemical systems and processes. In particular, the energetics and dynamics of such systems and processes are of interest to physical chemists. Important areas of study include chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, electrochemistry, statistical mechanics, spectroscopy, and more recently, astrochemistry. Physical chemistry has large overlap with molecular physics. Physical chemistry involves the use of infinitesimal calculus in deriving equations. It is usually associated with quantum chemistry and theoretical chemistry. Physical chemistry is a distinct discipline from chemical physics, but again, there is very strong overlap.
Theoretical chemistry is the study of chemistry via fundamental theoretical reasoning (usually within mathematics or physics). In particular the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry is called quantum chemistry. Since the end of the Second World War, the development of computers has allowed a systematic development of computational chemistry, which is the art of developing and applying computer programs for solving chemical problems. Theoretical chemistry has large overlap with (theoretical and experimental) condensed matter physics and molecular physics.
Atkins, Peter; de Paula, Julio (2009) . Elements of Physical Chemistry (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN .
Burrows, Andrew; Holman, John; Parsons, Andrew; Pilling, Gwen; Price, Gareth (2009). Chemistry3. Italy: Oxford University Press. ISBN .
Housecroft, Catherine E.; Sharpe, Alan G. (2008) . Inorganic Chemistry (3rd ed.). Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education. ISBN .
- Atkins, P.W. Galileo's Finger (Oxford University Press)
- Atkins, P.W. Atkins' Molecules (Cambridge University Press)
- Kean, Sam. The Disappearing Spoon - and other true tales from the Periodic Table (Black Swan) London, 2010
Levi, Primo The Periodic Table (Penguin Books)  translated from the Italian by Raymond Rosenthal (1984)
- Stwertka, A. A Guide to the Elements (Oxford University Press)
"Dictionary of the History of Ideas". Archived from the original on March 10, 2008.
"". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). 1911. pp. 33–76.
- Atkins, P.W., Overton, T., Rourke, J., Weller, M. and Armstrong, F. Shriver and Atkins inorganic chemistry (4th edition) 2006 (Oxford University Press)
- Chang, Raymond. Chemistry 6th ed. Boston: James M. Smith, 1998. .
Clayden, Jonathan; Greeves, Nick; Warren, Stuart; Wothers, Peter (2001). Organic Chemistry (1st ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN .
- Voet and Voet Biochemistry (Wiley)
- Atkins, P.W. Physical Chemistry (Oxford University Press)
- Atkins, P.W. et al. Molecular Quantum Mechanics (Oxford University Press)
- McWeeny, R. Coulson's Valence (Oxford Science Publications)
- Pauling, L. The Nature of the chemical bond (Cornell University Press)
- Pauling, L., and Wilson, E. B. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics with Applications to Chemistry (Dover Publications)
- Smart and Moore Solid State Chemistry: An Introduction (Chapman and Hall)
- Stephenson, G. Mathematical Methods for Science Students (Longman)
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