Introduction to Chemistry



There is an abundance of matter all around us. The matter is the consequence of chemical reactions between different types of materials. Some of the matter is biological or organic in nature besides the bulk of matter is contributed by inorganic stuff. There are a number of examples of chemical processes around us; for instance, the formation of curd from milk, fermentation of idli batter, and preparation of bread with the help of yeast etc. In all these cases the biological and chemical agents play a vital role hence it is important to understand some basics of chemistry as a subject.


Definition of chemistry

Chemistry is the branch of science dealing with the nature of matter, and the way the different materials combine to form a variety of products. It is a practical area largely interested in  the investigation of the properties of matter, their underlying reactions, and the use of such reactions to form new substances in the laboratory setting.“Chemistry is defined as the science dealing with the matter, their properties, composition as well as the chemical reactions that form the matter”. This article will further examine the nature, scope, and branches of chemistry.   


Nature and origin of chemistry

Chemistry is one of the oldest disciplines. Our ancestors have accidentally learnt chemistry from mother nature, one such example is fire production as a result of friction between 2 stones. Chemistry is found both inside and outside the human body and in our day-to-day life, we could see many examples of how chemistry helps us within and outside. Some of the common uses of chemistry in the household are the formation of yoghurt, preparation of bread, preparation of processed food products and decomposition of dead matter etc. Inside our body, chemistry contributes to many life processes such as metabolism, cardiac cycle, digestion, urine formation and many more. The industrial sector is largely relying on principles of chemistry for their business. Some of the ways they obtain the help of principles of chemistry are by means of manufacturing of medicines, fertilizers, acids, alkalis, soaps, cosmetics and many body products.


Branches of Chemistry

There is a multitude of branches in chemistry. Modern chemistry is classified into Physical chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, and biochemistry.

1. Physical chemistry: Physical chemistry deals with the study of microscopic properties of atoms, elements, compounds and their related entities. Some of the important areas fall under physical chemistry are, finding out the rates of chemical reactions and the energy transfers that occur in reactions and the chemical structure of materials around us.

2.Organic chemistry: Organic chemistry is the study of the chemistry of carbon and carbon-related compounds. Carbon is one of the most complex and widely available compounds. It involves the study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-containing compounds, which include not only hydrocarbons but also other elements, including hydrogen (most compounds contain at least one carbon-hydrogen bond), nitrogen, oxygen.

3. Inorganic chemistry: Inorganic chemistry is the study of non-carbon materials.  It is the science of some of the inorganic chemicals used in our day-to-day life and it is divided into many branches with each of them addresses an explanation for different materials and processes such as catalysis, materials science, pigments, paints, medicines, surfactants, coatings, etc.

4. Analytical chemistry: It deals with the composition of matter as well as the methods to separate, identify, and quantify the chemicals in a given sample of matter. Chemistry uses a precise method to find out the percentage of various components present in a particular matter. It is mostly used in the fields of forensic medicine, criminology, and some food industries.

5. Biochemistry: The term biochemistry refers to the chemistry of biological organisms (living and dead). Biochemistry helps us to understand the chemistry involved in bodily processes. Some of the examples are Kreb's cycle and maintenance of pH.  It is also widely applied in the fields of pathology, pharmacology, and medicine.


A brief history of chemistry 

Chemistry has evolved very much over a period of time. Some of the famous chemists have contributed a lot to human fraternity. Antoine Lavoisier is known as the father of Chemistry. The following table briefs the milestones of the development of chemistry as a discipline.



Specific Time period                                                                              


300 BC - 300 AD

The Advent of the Alchemists


The advent of Phlogiston Theory and Coulomb's Law


Disproving of the Phlogiston Theory


Dalton's Atomic Theory


Discovery of cathode rays


Discovery of  the proton


Discovery of X-rays


Discovery of  the electron and it`s properties  and the discovery of Radioactive Elements


Discovery of Mass of the Electron


Identified 3 Types of Radioactivity


Researched The Neutron, Neutron Bombardment and Nuclear Fission


Artificial Radioactive Elements



  1. Define chemistry and enumerate its branches

  2. What are the differences between organic and inorganic chemistry?

  3. Explain the scope of chemistry in our day-to-day life.

  4. What is biochemistry?

  5. How is analytical chemistry useful?





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