Chemistry: The Central Science ( [REPACK]
Chemistry is often called the central science because of its role in connecting the physical sciences, which include chemistry, with the life sciences, pharmaceutical sciences and applied sciences such as medicine and engineering. The nature of this relationship is one of the main topics in the philosophy of chemistry and in scientometrics. The phrase was popularized by its use in a textbook by Theodore L. Brown and H. Eugene LeMay, titled Chemistry: The Central Science, which was first published in 1977, with a thirteenth edition published in 2014.
Chemistry: The Central Science (
Connections made by chemistry are formed through various sub-disciplines that utilize concepts from multiple scientific disciplines. Chemistry and physics are both needed in the areas of physical chemistry, nuclear chemistry, and theoretical chemistry. Chemistry and biology intersect in the areas of biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, molecular biology, chemical biology, molecular genetics, and immunochemistry. Chemistry and the earth sciences intersect in areas like geochemistry and hydrology.
Chemistry is the study of the building blocks of matter and life. We don't all need to have a deep understanding of this science but having some understanding of how chemistry works and influences our lives can only be beneficial. If you need to brush up on chemistry, check out our adaptive Brainscape flashcards for:
All biological bodies are made up of chemical compounds. These compounds engage in chemical reactions that transport energy. They have cells that grow and divide; it's chemical reactions that enable reproduction, respiration, and more. Plants synthesize and use a huge variety of chemical compounds, many of which form the basis of medicine. The chemistry of animals and plants is central as well to any understanding of diet, nutrition, and health.
In the fields of medicine and biochemistry, chemistry plays a central role. Finely-balanced chemical reactions, such as hormone synthesis and similar processes, regulate the health of our bodies. Understanding and treating many health issues depends on a chemical understanding of what is occurring in the body. From bandages to mental health, from medications to blood plasma, chemistry is critical to medicine and biochemistry.
Chemistry and physics are interdependent, with neither field being completely understandable without the other. If there is any science that has a claim to being the central science other than chemistry, physics would be it.
Chemistry is often referred to as the central science because it joins together physics and mathematics, biology and medicine, and the earth and environmental sciences. Knowledge of the nature of chemicals and chemical processes therefore provides insights into a variety of physical and biological phenomena. Knowing something about chemistry is worthwhile because it provides an excellent basis for understanding the physical universe we live in. For better or for worse, everything is chemical!
It may be obvious to you that a chemistry background is important if you plan to teach chemistry or to work in the chemical industry developing chemical commodities such as polymeric materials, pharmaceuticals, flavorings, preservatives, dyestuffs, or fragrances. You may also be aware that chemists are frequently employed as environmental scientists, chemical oceanographers, chemical information specialists, chemical engineers, and chemical salespersons. However, it may be less obvious to you that a significant knowledge of chemistry is often required in a number of related professions including medicine, pharmacy, medical technology, nuclear medicine, molecular biology, biotechnology, pharmacology, toxicology, paper science, pharmaceutical science, hazardous waste management, art conservation, forensic science and patent law. Thus, a chemistry degree can be effectively combined with advanced work in other fields which may lead, for example, to work in higher management (sometimes with an M.B.A.), the medical field (with a medical degree), or in the patent field (possibly with a law degree).
It is often observed that today's graduate, unlike the graduate of a generation ago, should anticipate not a single position with one employer or in one industry, but rather many careers. You will be well prepared for this future if, in your college years, you take advantage of the opportunity to become broadly educated, to learn to be flexible and to be a creative problem solver. Knowledge and skills gained in your college courses may be directly applicable in your first job, but science and technology change at a rapid pace. You will keep up and stay ahead if you graduate with the skills and self-discipline to pursue a lifetime of learning. Since chemistry provides many of these skills and is a fundamental driver in the business and commerce sector of our society, chemists and biochemists are likely to remain in continual demand.
Every living thing is composed of chemical combinations. When sets of chemicals react, they create and transport energy. They can also grow, shrink and divide. These chemical reactions are the science behind the way organisms breathe, respond to stimuli and reproduce.
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Chemistry is crucial to the understanding of life. From pharmaceuticals, pathology and medical diagnostics, to advanced materials used in modern electronics, to assessing pollutants in the environment, chemistry is a fundamental science when it comes to the development and ongoing use of these technologies. In the past decade, we have seen increased awareness of DNA, to the point where it is no longer considered necessary to explain the acronym in the popular press or popular culture more generally. Routine medical and pathology techniques such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) are based on fundamental chemical interactions, and forensic testing is used regularly in criminal and civil trials, as well as to chart the trajectory of emerging infectious diseases. With recent medical advances people are pharmaceutically supported through life events with chemistry, from treating a range of conditions from formerly fatal childhood diseases to blood clots and strokes. But, despite the apparent familiarity of the public with the basic elements of chemistry, there is an obvious break in communication illustrated by the spread of chemophobia (the term that has been coined for an irrational fear of chemicals).
Atomic structure, Bonding and Periodicity Chemistry as a central scientific discipline. Atomic and electronic structure. The Periodic Table and periodicity of the elements. Chemical bonding and molecular shape. Hydrogen and hydrogen bonding. Introduction to radiochemistry. Classification of chemical reactions. Chemical equations and stoichiometry. Organic Chemistry The diversity of carbon compounds. Functional groups and nomenclature. A selective overview of major classes of organic compounds (structure, properties). Chirality and its importance in biology and medicinal chemistry. Organic compounds of biological importance: Amino acids, peptides, proteins and carbohydrates. Physical Chemistry Elementary dimensional analysis and manipulation of chemical quantities. Introductory concepts in quantitative analysis. Spectroscopy. Fundamentals of chemical thermodynamics, including a general introduction to chemical equilibria. Acid-based equilibria, pH, buffers, carbonate equilibria. The importance of acid base equilibria and colligative properties in industrial, environmental and biological/physiological systems
Teaching chemistry to health sciences students using practical applications raises the concept of the centrality of chemistry, making the inter-relationships between one scientific branch and various other fields relevant. This multidisciplinary scientific project allowed health sciences students to apply different sciences to chemistry. Chemical, pharmaceutical, microbiological and statistical concepts were studied for the H2O2 reagent, in order to demonstrate that the scientific educational pedagogy is integrated for health sciences students.
What would have happened if there had been a popular text called Physics: The Central Science? Most likely, students would be asked to explain why physics is the central science, rather than getting the question concerning chemistry.
Scholars who give us accounts of their version of the history of chemistry tend naturally to bias their accounts with the perspective of chemistry as a distinct, isolable science of a part of the natural world, what we call a scientific discipline. Yet we find chemistry in the form of transformations and interactions of matter everywhere we look, as astronomers, geologists, physicists, biologists, physicians, painters, chefs, you name it. As the "central science", chemistry sits at the central hub of the sciences it reduces to and those it underpins, which include all the natural sciences. A history of chemistry must recognize that and integrate it into its account.
In the earliest written records of thinkers giving thought to issues modern chemists would recognize as a theoretical chemistry, earth, air, fire, and water figure as central fundamentals in the development of a coherent science of chemistry, however unrecognized as such, and however primitive, incorrect, and absent experimental support in the beginning. Those early thinkers were the ancient Greek philosophers beginning in the 7th century BCE.