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1.1: What is Chemistry? – Chemistry LibreTexts

Learning Objectives

Chemistry is the study of matterwhat it consists of, what its properties are, and how it changes. Being able to describe the ingredients in a cake and how they change when the cake is baked is called chemistry. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up spacethat is, anything that is physically real. Some things are easily identified as matterthis book, for example. Others are not so obvious. Because we move so easily through the air, we sometimes forget that it, too, is matter.

Chemistry is one branch of science. Science is the process by which we learn about the natural universe by observing, testing, and then generating models that explain our observations. Because the physical universe is so vast, there are many different branches of science (Figure (PageIndex{1})). Thus, chemistry is the study of matter, biology is the study of living things, and geology is the study of rocks and the earth. Mathematics is the language of science, and we will use it to communicate some of the ideas of chemistry.

Although we divide science into different fields, there is much overlap among them. For example, some biologists and chemists work in both fields so much that their work is called biochemistry. Similarly, geology and chemistry overlap in the field called geochemistry. Figure (PageIndex{1}) shows how many of the individual fields of science are related.

There are many other fields of science, in addition to the ones (biology, medicine, etc.) listed

Alchemy Is in No way Chemistry!

As our understanding of the universe has changed over time, so has the practice of science. Chemistry in its modern form, based on principles that we consider valid today, was developed in the 1600s and 1700s. Before that, the study of matter was known as alchemy and was practiced mainly in China, Arabia, Egypt, and Europe.

Alchemy was a somewhat mystical and secretive approach to learning how to manipulate matter. Practitioners, called alchemists, thought that all matter was composed of different proportions of the four basic elementsfire, water, earth, and airand believed that if you changed the relative proportions of these elements in a substance, you could change the substance. The long-standing attempts to transmute common metals into gold represented one goal of alchemy. Alchemys other major goal was to synthesize the philosophers stone, a material that could impart long lifeeven immortality. Alchemists used symbols to represent substances, some of which are shown in the accompanying figure. This was not done to better communicate ideas, as chemists do today, but to maintain the secrecy of alchemical knowledge, keeping others from sharing in it.

In spite of this secrecy, in its time alchemy was respected as a serious, scholarly endeavor. Isaac Newton, the great mathematician and physicist, was also an alchemist.

Alchemy and the ACS (American Chemical Society)

While watching the video below and answer the following questions.


The study of modern chemistry has many branches, but can generally be broken down into five main disciplines, or areas of study:

In practice, chemical research is often not limited to just one of the five major disciplines. A particular chemist may use biochemistry to isolate a particular chemical found in the human body such as hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells. He or she may then proceed to analyze the hemoglobin using methods that would pertain to the areas of physical or analytical chemistry. Many chemists specialize in areas that are combinations of the main disciplines, such as bioinorganic chemistry or physical organic chemistry.

Chemists at work

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has designed a series of videos illustrating the different fields that a chemist could pursue. Please watch this 2 minute and 23-second video and answer the questions below:

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1.1: What is Chemistry? - Chemistry LibreTexts

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Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and …

Immerse yourself in the composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter, especially of atomic, elemental and molecular systems. Experience a challenging but nurturing environment and take courses in analytical, biological, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.

Undergraduate and graduate students perform original research in a number of different areas of chemistry, from theoretical and experimental physical chemistry to organic synthesis, nanomaterials and biochemistry.

The Department of Chemistry is located in the Center for Science and Technology (CST) on the eastern edge of campus.

The department is equipped with state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities and an outstanding technical support staff. Available instrumentation includes the following, to name a few:

Other support services include the Chemistry Stores, an on-campus source for commonly used laboratory supplies and chemicals, and electronics and glass blowing shops, where highly specific research equipment is designed and fabricated. The Science and Technology Library offers an outstanding collection of scientific literature and electronic resources.

There are many career possibilities for a chemistry major. Chemical, drug and oil companies are certainly options. Here are some others:

Learn more about all your options by speaking with your advisor.

A team of A&S chemists are working to develop a superconductor that could store vast amounts of energy and make the electrical power grid much more efficient.

Chemist Davoud Mozhdehi is working on an autonomous synthetic material that could create what he calls smart plastics.

Researchers are investigating a nanoparticle that could 'disguise' itself for entry into the brain.

REU grant draws students from around the country for summer research.

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Hannah-Jones tenure case costs UNC Chapel Hill a noted chemistry faculty candidate – Inside Higher Ed

Whether or not Nikole Hannah-Jones joins the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may soon be answered: today is the deadline she set for the universitys Board of Trustees to grant her the tenure she was initially offered or face legal action.

Either way, the university may have already lost out on another coveted recruit: Lisa Jones, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences whom Chapel Hills chemistry department has long sought to woo away from her current job at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, says shes not interested in working somewhere that spurned Hannah-Jones.

According to Chapel Hills chemistry department, Jones wrote to withdraw her faculty candidacy, calling the recent news that the board had deferred Hannah-Joness tenure, despite faculty and administrative backing, disheartening.

It does not seem in line with a school that says it is interested in diversity, Jones wrote of the boards action. Although I know this decision may not reflect the view of the schools faculty, I will say that I cannot see myself accepting a position at a university where this decision stands. I appreciate all of the effort you have put into trying to recruit me but for me this is hard to overlook.

Chapel Hills chemistry department wrote to the universitys chancellor, Kevin Guskiewicz, about Joness withdrawal in a letter that has since been circulated online, saying the dire repercussions of the Hannah-Jones case are impacting our ability to recruit and attract a diverse and talented faculty person. The department said it workedhard for two years to recruit Jones, a Black chemist who is renowned for her work in structural proteomics by leveraging tools in biochemistry, analytical chemistry and biophysics.

Joness letter of withdrawal is a reflection of what our nations minority scholars will be saying about the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as they search for job opportunities or consider if this university is still the right fit.

Hannah-Jones retweeted a copy of the departments letter to Guskiewicz, writing, Ive never met this sister, Dr. Lisa Jones, but the solidarity shown me by Black women in particular during this crucible is something I will never forget.

Jones declined an interview request but shared a statement saying that shed come to wonder if UNC Chapel Hill would be "conducive to the achievement of my academic aspirations, which include promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. While I have never met Ms. Hannah-Jones, as a faculty member of color, I stand in solidarity with her and could not in good conscience accept a position at UNC. This situation is indicative of a broader issue within academia where faculty of color face several obstacles and are less likely to gain tenure."

In closing its letter, the chemistry department urged the board to hold a vote on Hannah-Joness tenure case immediately, or further compromise everything we value and represent.

Chapel Hills Faculty Executive Committee sent a similar request to the board last week, but Mimi Chapman, committee chair and Frank A. Daniels Distinguished Professor for Human Service Policy Information, said Thursday that she hasnt heard anything from the trustees. Meanwhile, Chapman said shes heard from many faculty members united in their outrage about the Hannah-Jones tenure deferral and in concern about their own programs ability to recruit and even retain talented faculty members going forward.

All you can do is infer from their actions, and they do not seem to have the faintest idea about the impact of their actions on a public research university, Chapman said of trustees. We are one of the top five research and public institutions in the country. Just think about the pandemic -- we had people here working on the vaccine, people working on therapeutics before other people were in other places. So for them to imagine that you attract that kind of talent in the midst of this kind of scandal -- what do they think? Do they think people in medicine dont care about what happens in journalism? Thats not how we are as a community.

Chapman continued, You cant have the things that they champion about our university without accepting all of it. It all works together, were part of a whole. Thats what a university means.

Thus far, Chapman said, she wasnt aware of another specific withdrawn faculty candidacy, beyond Joness. But given the long faculty hiring cycle, she said it was possible the Hannah-Jones case could affect recruitment and retention next year, or even longer term. Chapel Hill, where faculty salaries are relatively low compared to private peer institutions, is always at risk of poaching, she added.

The university said it had no updates Thursday evening about the boards intentions for Hannah-Joness tenure dossier. That dossier, which the board declined to vote on earlier this year, reportedly for political reasons, is now back with the board.

Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Foundation genius grantee, co-led The New York Times Magazines 1619 Project re-examining the role of race and racism in the nations history. It was widely praised among readers, journalists and academics but became a lightning rod among many political conservatives who continue to allege that it promotes false, unpatriotic narratives about what the U.S. is as a nation.

The Assembly reported that the board experienced some high-placed lobbying against Hannah-Joness appointment, in the form of the Hussman School of Journalism and Medias biggest donor, school namesake and Arkansas media mogul Walter Hussman Jr.

I worry about the controversy of tying the UNC journalism school to the 1619 project, Hussman reportedly wrote in a now-ironic December message to Guskiewicz and at least one board member. I find myself more in agreement with Pulitzer prize winning historians like James McPherson and Gordon Wood than I do Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Hussman reportedly wrote in another email to administrators that he didnt like Hannah-Joness contention that Black Americans fought the civil rights battle largely alone, as long before Hannah-Jones won her Pulitzer, courageous white southerners risking their lives standing up for the rights of blacks were winning Pulitzer prizes, too.

Hussman has since said that he did not think he was pressuring Chapel Hill to act a certain way regarding Hannah-Jones, who was ultimately offered a five-year contract without tenure as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.

But thats apparently how it felt, at least to Susan King, dean of the journalism school. She told The Assembly that I felt worried enough about Walters repeated questions challenging our hiring of Nikole Hannah-Jones as Knight Chair and his subsequent call to at least one other donor that I asked for help from others in the administration.

Last week, Hannah-Jones and her legal team gave the trustees until today to vote on her case or face litigation. I am obligated to fight back against a wave of anti-democratic suppression that seeks to prohibit the free exchange of ideas, silence Black voices and chill free speech, she said at the time.

If Hannah-Jones does get tenured and join Chapel Hill, shed be just one of 32 tenured Black women professors out of 1,384 tenured professors total, according to federal data from 2019, the most recent year for which these figures are available.

Julian Vasquez Heilig, dean of the University of Kentuckys College of Education, whose ongoing research shows there was little to no change in faculty diversity from 2013 to 2017, especially at large research institutions and despite many initiatives to this end, said he wasnt surprised Jones had cold feet about Chapel Hill now.

Theres a real chilling effect because this community of scholars is small, especially within disciplines, he said. Even when questionable treatment of a scholar of color doesnt make national headlines, he said, news still travels through the graduate and fellowship cohorts and various affinity groups that function as what Heilig called formal and informal information networks.

At Chapel Hill, he said, they were will willing to give [Hannah-Jones] a five-year contract but they werent willing to let her do that work in a secure, independent way, with the academic freedom that tenure ensures. This is a long-standing problem that higher education has for faculty of color and women, and we struggle with racial, ethnic and gender diversity. Just look at the numbers.

Hannah-Jones tenure case costs UNC Chapel Hill a noted chemistry faculty candidate - Inside Higher Ed

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Mets’ chemistry keeps team afloat amid injury adversity: ‘We just have a great vibe, honestly, in the clubhouse’ – Yahoo Sports

James McCann Marcus Stroman fist bump 6/6

The Mets came back from an 0-2 hole to split this past weekend's four-game series with the Padres, capped by a 6-2 win Sunday at Petco Park in San Diego, and RHP Marcus Stroman sees a common theme as New York stays atop the NL East at 29-23 amid injury adversity.

"We just have a great vibe, honestly, in the clubhouse," said Stroman (5-4, 2.41 ERA), who pitched 6 2/3 innings and yielded San Diego (36-25) to one unearned run on four hits. "It's truly an internal clubhouse and we never get too consumed or care about anything that's happening outside on what's happening in the clubhouse. Everyone allows each other to be unique, to be the individual. Whatever anyone needs to do to put themselves at the highest level, we're very open to that. We don't try and say, 'You can't do this or can't do that.'

"Everyone's one. It's one big family. Everyone wants to see each other excel, each and every time, and that's all we're concerned with. Like I said, this is one of the best teams I've played, as far as camaraderie. It's a blessing to come to the clubhouse every day."

LF Dominic Smith, who gave the Mets a 2-0 lead with a solo home run in the fourth inning, echoed Stroman's sentiments when discussing an animated celebration players used from the dugout on big hits.

"I think all of us, we're trying to make a push," Smith said. "We're a brotherhood and we try to pick up everybody, we support everybody and I think at the end of the day we just try to just support each other and that's why we have so much fun out there."

Three and a half games ahead in the division, the Mets close out a nine-game road trip Tuesday and Wednesday, a two-game set against the Baltimore Orioles (21-38).

"For me, it just shows how brave these guys are," said manager Luis Rojas. "And we have a ton of adversity, right? And then this is our first trip to the West Coast, and all the difference. I mean, every team goes through this. But at the same time that we're going through injuries and all the uncertainties, the guys are able to stay consistent with the game that we've been playing, right, to win games.

"... Pitching and defense has been the formula. We stay in all games and we can have some big innings here and there, but scoring a lot of runs hasn't been our thing, right? So pitching and defense is a thing that I'm the most proud of. Guys are not shying away, regardless of what our lineup is. Pitchers are attacking. The guys are on their toes, making plays. And there are some guys that are coming with the bat. We saw (James) McCann hit another homer today.

"So that's the one thing that I'm proud of, just how brave these guys are and how consistent they stay with the formula that's worked for us to win games. And they trust it. We're just going to keep moving forward with our head up. We have a day off. It's always good to win before a day off. It's a great feeling. I know, for the team, it is. So we have our day off, we'll rest and then we'll see Tuesday. We're hoping that (Jonathan) Villar might be in our starting lineup. That'll be a win, too."

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Mets' chemistry keeps team afloat amid injury adversity: 'We just have a great vibe, honestly, in the clubhouse' - Yahoo Sports

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Oil companies are going all-in on petrochemicals and green chemistry needs help to compete – Salon

Global oil consumption declined by roughly 9% in 2020 as the pandemic reduced business and pleasure travel, factory production and transportation of goods. This abrupt drop accelerated an ongoing shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

U.S. government forecasts show that oil use for transportation, industry, construction, heating and electricity is declining and will continue to drop in the coming years. This trend has enormous implications for the oil industry: As the International Energy Agency observed in 2020, "No oil and gas company will be unaffected by clean energy transitions."

Many of these companies are trying to make up losses by boosting production of petrochemicals derived from oil and natural gas. Today roughly 80% of every barrel of oil is used to make gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, with the rest going into petrochemical products. As demand for petroleum fuels gradually declines, the amount of oil used for that "other" share will grow.

This makes sense as a business strategy, but here's the problem: Researchers are working to develop more sustainable replacements for petrochemical products, including bio-based plastics and specialty chemicals. However, petrochemicals can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost. As a biochemist working to develop environmentally benign versions of valuable chemicals, I'm concerned that without adequate support, pioneering green chemistry research will struggle to compete with fossil-based products.

Pivoting toward petrochemicals

Petrochemicals are used in millions of products, from plastics, detergents, shampoos and makeup to industrial solvents, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer and carpeting. Over the next 20 years, oil company BP projects that this market will grow by 16% to 20%.

Oil companies are ramping up to increase petrochemical production. In the Saudi Arabian town of Yanbu, for example, two state-owned companies, Saudi Aramco and Sabic, are planning a new complex that will produce 9 million metric tons of petrochemicals each year, transforming Arabian light crude oil into lubricants, solvents and other products.

These changes are happening across the global industry. Several Chinese companies are constructing factories that will convert about 40% of their oil into chemicals such as p-Xylene, a building block for industrial chemicals. Exxon-Mobil began expanding research and development on petrochemicals as far back as 2014.

The promise of green chemistry

At the same time, in the U.S. and other industrialized countries, health, environmental and security issues are driving a quest to produce sustainable alternatives for petroleum-based chemicals. Drilling for oil and natural gas, using petrochemicals and burning fossil fuels have widespread environmental and human health impacts. High oil consumption also raises national security concerns.

The Department of Energy has led basic research on bioproducts through its national laboratories and funding for university BioEnergy Research Centers. These labs are developing plant-based, sustainable domestic biofuels and bioproducts, including petrochemical replacements, through a process called "metabolic engineering."

Researchers like me are using enzymes to transform leafy waste matter from crops and other sources into sugars that can be consumed by microorganisms typically, bacteria and fungi such as yeast. These microorganisms then transform the sugars into molecules, similar to the way that yeast converts sugar to ethanol, fermenting it into beer.

In the creation of bioproducts, instead of creating ethanol the sugar is transformed into other molecules. We can design these metabolic pathways to create solvents; components in widely used polymers like nylon; perfumes; and many other products.

My laboratory is exploring ways to engineer enzymes catalysts produced by living cells that cause or speed up biochemical reactions. We want to produce enzymes that can be put into engineered bacteria, in order to make structurally complex natural products.

The overall goal is to put carbon and oxygen together in a predictable fashion, similar to the chemical structures created through petroleum-based chemistry. But the green approach uses natural substances instead of oil or natural gas as building blocks.

This isn't a new concept. Enzymes in bacteria are used to make an important antibiotic, erythromycin, which was first discovered in 1952.

All of this takes place in a biorefinery a facility that takes natural inputs like algae, crop waste or specially grown energy crops like switchgrass and converts them into commercially valuable substances, as oil refineries do with petroleum. After fermenting sugars with engineered microorganisms, a biorefinery separates and purifies microbial cells to produce a spectrum of bio-based products, including food additives, animal feed, fragrances, chemicals and plastics.

In response to the global plastic pollution crisis, one research priority is "polymer upcycling." Using bio-based feedstocks can transform single-use water bottles into materials that are more recyclable than petroleum-based versions because they are easier to heat and remold.

Reducing the cost gap

To replace polluting goods and practices, sustainable alternatives have to be cost-competitive. For example, many plastics currently end up in landfills because they're cheaper to manufacture than to recycle.

High costs are also slowing progress toward a bioeconomy. Today research, development and manufacturing are more costly for bioproducts than for established petrochemical versions.

Governments can use laws and regulations to drive change. In 2018 the European Union set an ambitious goal of sourcing 30% of all plastics from renewable sources by 2030. In addition to reducing plastic pollution, this step will save energy: Petroleum-based plastics production ranks third in energy consumption worldwide, after energy production and transport.

Promoting bio-based products is compatible with President Biden's all-of-government approach to climate change. Biomanufacturing investments could also help bring modern manufacturing jobs to rural areas, a goal of Biden's American Jobs Plan.

But oil company investments in the design of novel chemicals are growing, and the chasm between the cost of petroleum-based products and those produced through emerging green technologies continues to widen. More efficient technologies could eventually flood existing petrochemical markets, further driving down the cost of petrochemicals and making it even harder to compete.

In my view, the growing climate crisis and increasing plastic pollution make it urgent to wean the global economy from petroleum. I believe that finding replacements for petroleum-based chemicals in many products we use daily can help move the world toward that goal.

Constance B. Bailey, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Tennessee

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Oil companies are going all-in on petrochemicals and green chemistry needs help to compete - Salon

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Titans QB Tannehill taking advantage of OTAs, building chemistry with new players – WKRN News 2

Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- Organized team practice activities, or OTAs, are useful for many reasons, especially when it comes to getting familiar with new faces on the roster.

The Tennessee Titans have plenty of new additions this year, specifically on offense. And while OTAs arent mandatory, quarterback Ryan Tannehill is on the practice field, getting familiar with his new targets.

The more that we can cover now, the better were going to be. There is a lot we can take in and learn during this time of the year, said Tannehill. We dont have a game were preparing for so we are trying new things offensively. The quarterbacks are able to try new things and those young guys, rookies are able to take in a lot of information.

Whether it be Dez Fitzpatrick or Racey McMath, Tannehill said the rookies have made a good first impression.

Tannehill added, We have a bunch of young, talented guys. They are tall and athletic and can make plays on the football, so were excited about what they bring to us physically, and its good to see them coming out everyday and competing.

Josh Reynolds is also a new face in the wide receivers room, and right now it looks like he will be playing opposite of AJ Brown on Sundays. Tannehill took some extra time working with him this week, and will put a little extra emphasis on building that chemistry.

As I learn the way he moves and his range and speed, those little moments, when we get those one-on-one times together are going to be huge as we head into training camp. If we can sneak some reps in here this Spring, it will help us down the road, said Tannehill.

And while Tannehill wasnt able to get in any extra work with some of the veteran players this past Spring, he has been keeping close tabs on tight end Anthony Firkser, and is optimistic about what hell be able to contribute this upcoming season.

He just needs to stay on track with what he is doing, hes been working extremely hard. Before I got here I was watching tape on him, and hes been working extremely hard. Now he needs to continue that and keep getting better, said Tannehill.

OTAs will continue throughout next week, with Titans mini-camp happening June 15-17 at St. Thomas Sports Park.

Titans QB Tannehill taking advantage of OTAs, building chemistry with new players - WKRN News 2

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