Have you ever wondered why ice melts and water evaporates? Why leaves turn colors in the fall and how a battery generates electricity? Why keeping food cold slows their spoilage and how our bodies use food to maintain life? Chemistry supplies answers to these questions and countless others like them.
Chemistry is the study of the properties of materials and the changes that materials undergo. One of the joys of learning chemistry is seeing how chemical principles operate in all aspects of our lives, from everyday activities like lighting a match to more far-reaching matter like the development of drugs to cure cancer.
Chemistry provides important understanding of our world and how it works. It is an extremely practical science that greatly impacts our daily living. Indeed, chemistry lies near the heart of many matters of public concern: improvement of health care, conservation of natural resources, protection of the environment, and provision of our everyday needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Using chemistry, we have discovered pharmaceutical chemicals that enhance our health and prolong our lives. We have increased food production through the development of fertilizers and pesticides. We have developed plastic and other materials that are used in almost every facet of our lives. Unfortunately, some chemicals also have the potential to harm our health or the environment. It is in our best interests as educated citizens and consumers to understand the profound effects, both positive and negative, that chemicals have on our lives and to strike an informed balance about their usage.