S117Lecture12011

S117Lecture12011 - S117: Principles of Chemistry and...

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S117: Principles of Chemistry and Biochemistry What do chemists do? Chemists do a wide variety of things they study the fundamental properties of matter and how it can be transformed or manipulated. “Chemistry is what chemists do.” – G.N. Lewis Chemists are involved in many areas you might not immediately think of. For example, Textile industry (new materials, new dyes, etc.) Automobile industry (reducing auto emissions, lightweight cars, electric/hybrid cars) Pharmecutical industry (new drugs, delivery mechanisms) Power generation industry (nuclear power, solar power, efficient batteries) Food industry (preservatives, colorings, flavor enhancers, etc.) Housing industry (improved building construction materials, paints, etc) Environmental monitoring (dealing with industrial waste, natural radon levels, etc. The above list is a short list of the varied types of activities that chemists are involved in. Suffice it to say that chemistry is all around us and that chemists are involved in our lives in many guises.
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Above all, chemists are scientists! Science (at least in twenty-first century terms) is more than an accumulation of facts and knowledge, it is a way of thinking, a manner of approaching a problem . Science and the scientific method (Rene Descartes) are inextricably linked. It involves a cyclic pattern of observation/experiment and theory/hypothesis. In this paradigm, science can only address testable questions. Science is a way of thinking/acting. It is an active pursuit.
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Chemistry, Physics, and Biology the cornerstones of modern science. A simplistic differentiation between these three disciplines would be: h Physics – The study of fundamental physical laws and relationships (gravity, electricity and magnetism, nuclear) h Chemistry – The study of matter and energy at the molecular level h Biology – The study of living things If ever these definitions were valid, they are too naïve, especially for today. The traditional “lines” between these disciplines are increasingly blurred. For example, Some physicists study aggregates of atoms (mesoscopic systems) or the properties of biological systems. Some chemists study the behavior of nuclei at high temperature or the transcriprion of RNA Some chemists investigate the chemical and physical properties of biological molecules
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Chemistry is the study of matter, its nature (physical and chemical properties), its form (phase, structure), and the changes it
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2012 for the course S 117 taught by Professor Stephenjacobson during the Fall '11 term at Indiana.

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S117Lecture12011 - S117: Principles of Chemistry and...

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