Introduction to Chemistry

Introduction to Chemistry

Natural science is one of the branches of science. Understanding aspects of nature by means of logic, observation, or experimentation, explaining them, and producing hypotheses about them are the areas of natural science.

Chemistry is one of the branches of natural science that discusses the structure of matter, its nature, and changes. For example, coal contains carbon. Chemistry discusses how the carbon atoms reside in coal and how these atoms react with oxygen in the air when burnt and how they produce heat. All matters including animals and objects are its subject. 

Natural science has branches like physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, microbiology, astronomy, soil science, etc. What is there in your food and how they are there is discussed in chemistry? Again, think of the new cycle you bought. 

After some days, the iron parts of the cycle started to get rust on them. Chemistry discusses that too. Chemistry started with the creation of this world. But it is probably the moment when the first man built a fire striking two stones that man started to have control over chemistry. From the prehistoric age, humans have used chemistry when they refined metals, made earthen utensils burning soil, prepared medicines and perfumes taking extracts and juices from trees and plants. So far, we know that the first metal human beings used is gold. Besides, they have also used metals like copper, tin, silver, etc.

Humans learned to melt copper and tin, mix them and cool the mixture into another hard alloy named bronze at around 3500 BC. Bronze was used to make quality weapons. These were used by the people to hunt animals, cultivate crops, cut firewood, etc. This alloy became an essential product of the then human race. Bronze contributed a lot to the progress of human civilization. 

The ancient philosophers used to think a lot about the structure of matters. The Greek philosopher Democritus declared in 380 BC that, a small particle will be available at a stage when we synthesize any metal. This particle is indivisible and he called it an atom. Some Indian philosophers of the age also had similar views. But none of these ideas had a practical base. Aristotle opposed this idea.

He along with another school of philosophers believed all matters are made of soil, fire, water, and wind. That is why humans did not accept the idea of an atom for quite a long time.

In the medieval age, some Arab Muslim philosophers tried to make gold out of cheaper materials like copper, tin, and lead. They also tried to get an elixir that would lengthen the life of humans. Though they failed in their original attempts yet they wrote down their experiments. 

Basically, these were the earliest attempts of systematic study of chemistry or experimentation. These medieval Arab experimentations with chemistry were called Alchemy and the philosophers were known as Alchemists. The term Alchemy comes from the Arabic word Al-Chimia which again takes its origin from Chemi or Kimi. The word chemistry comes from this chemi. Alchemist Jabir Al Haiyan is the first scientist to hold chemical experiments in a laboratory. That is why he is sometimes called the father of chemistry. Jabir Al Haiyan believed all matters are composed of four components - soil, fire, water, and wind. 

Therefore, although experimented, Jabir was not very clear about the mysteries of chemistry. Scientists including Antony Lavorsiere, Robert Boyle, Sir Francis Bacon, and John Dalton are the first school to start experimenting with chemistry understanding the real spirit of this science. Antony Lavorsiere is called the after of modern chemistry.

The branch of science that discusses the structure of matter, its nature, and changes is called chemistry.

Table: Explanation of different incidents in terms of chemistry.

No.   Subject  Analysis
 1. Green mango is sour while a ripened mango is sweet. There remain various organic acids like succinic acid, maleic acid, etc. in a green mango which makes it sour. As it ripens, these acids transform into glucose and fructose in chemical reactions and turn the mango sweet.
 2 Burning of kerosene, natural gas, and waxThe main component of these elements is hydrocarbon which is a composite form of carbon and hydrogen. When we burn them, carbon and hydrogen react with the oxygen of the air and produce carbon-di-oxide, vapor, and heat.
 3 Taking antacid due to acidity in the stomachAcidity occurs in the stomach when excess hydrochloric acid is generated inside. Antacid contains aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide. These two compounds neutralize hydrochloric acid.

These incidents are sufficient to tell you that our life is irrevocably related to chemistry. Therefore, chemistry is one of the important branches of science.


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