Chemistry is a branch of science which deals with the composition and properties of matter and the changes which matter undergoes by interaction of its various forms. A number of such changes always go on every day. For example, when wood or coal is burnt, it produces heat as well as light. In the life of all plants and animals matter is present. Many elements and compounds are in association. The microorganisms cause various kind of disease which is to be treated with medicines. Medicines are chemical substances. We come to know that every life is full of chemistry.
Chemistry is very old science. In Hindu philosophy it has been explained that chemistry was studied to produce chemical weapons. Very tiny particles of substance are explained as paramanus in Hindu Philosophy.
The Egyptians, about 2000 B.C. developed the art of making medicines out of juices of plants and this art was regarded as sacred and was the monopoly of priests. They excelled in the art of glass making, dyeing, tanning, etc.
The Greeks, about 500 B.C. were interested in the the theory of chemistry than its practice. They were philosophers rather than experimenters and believed that all substances were derived from four elements –earth, water, air, and fire and the difference in various substances was due to combination in different proportions of these elements.
The Arabs, who translated Egyptian books into Arabic and Syrian languages developed the science further and introduced into Europe through their institutions in Spain. These middle age chemists were known as alchemists.
The foundation of the Modern chemistry was laid in 17th century by Robert Boyle. Quantitative experiments were developed by Lavoisier in 18th century. Important contributions were made by Priestly, Scheele and Cavendish. Dalton gave the study of chemistry a new turn early in 19th and notable contributions were made by Gay Lussac, Avogrado, Graham, Richards, Davy, Faraday and others.
Branch of Chemistry
The knowledge of chemistry has been advanced in twentieth century and its relation with other subjects has been detailed.
Some of the important branches of chemistry are:
- Inorganic chemistry
- Organic chemistry
- Analytical chemistry
- Industrial chemistry
- Agricultural Chemistry
- Nuclear Chemistry
- Physical chemistry
Importance of Chemistry
The knowledge of chemistry is essential in every field of science. For the extraction of metals, alloys, manufacture of various kinds of medicines and their effects, in the development of war weapons, synthetic fibers, dyes, plastics, cement manufacturing, glass manufacturing etc., are field where chemical knowledge is a must.
In our everyday life, most of the things used such as soap, utensils, cosmetics, etc., are made from chemicals. For better sanitation and health, for better homes, communication, transportation, etc. also chemical knowledge is essential.