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Department of Chemistry & Biomolecular Sciences

What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is the branch of science which studies the nature and characteristics of substances and the changes they undergo when they are mixed one with another. Chemistry uses this information to prepare new substances of value to humanity. Chemistry is involved in some way with almost everything we do or use. Chemistry is central to most of science and technology, blending at one extreme into physics, mathematics and engineering and at the other into the earth and life sciences. Chemists are employed in industries which provide us with food, energy, consumer goods, in regulatory bodies that protect our health and environment and in research institutions that provide new materials and techniques for the future. In other words, chemistry is an essential part of modern life. It also supplies us with the answers to many questions, such as -

  • Is this food fit for consumption?
  • What are the key chemical reactions that allowed life to evolve?
  • How can we make stronger fibres?
  • How can we design a new fuel cell?
  • How can we make pharmaceuticals, chemicals or vitamins?
  • Can we design and make new drugs?
  • How do pharmaceuticals and enzymes work in the body?
  • Ho do animals and plants protect themselves from predators?
  • How can we make industrial chemicals from oil and natural gas?
  • What is the concentration of certain contaminants from this factory?
  • can we us the chemical signals produced by all living things to control pests?
  • How is a new industrial process likely to affect the environment?
  • How can we tell what is happening inside a blast furnace, or in the exhaust of a jet engine, or down a coal mine?
  • What are the natural concentrations of heavy metals in ground water?

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