Chemistry (the etymology of the word has been much disputed) is the science of matter and the changes it undergoes. The science of matter is also addressed by physics, but while physics takes a more general and fundamental approach, chemistry is more specialized, being concerned with the composition, behavior, structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions. It is a physical science which studies of various atoms, molecules, crystals and other aggregates of matter whether in isolation or combination, which incorporates the concepts of energy and entropy in relation to the spontaneity of chemical processes.
Disciplines within chemistry are traditionally grouped by the type of matter being studied or the kind of study. These include inorganic chemistry, the study of inorganic matter; organic chemistry, the study of organic (carbon based) matter; biochemistry, the study of substances found in biological organisms; physical chemistry, the study of chemical processes using physical concepts such as thermodynamics and quantum mechanics; and analytical chemistry, the analysis of material samples to gain an understanding of their chemical composition and structure. Many more specialized disciplines have emerged in recent years, e.g. neurochemistry the chemical study of the nervous system (see subdisciplines).
Chemistry is the scientific study of interaction of chemical substances that are constituted of atoms or the subatomic particles: protons, electrons and neutrons. Atoms combine to produce molecules or crystals. Chemistry is often called "the central science" because it connects the other natural sciences such as astronomy, physics, material science, biology and geology.
The genesis of chemistry can be traced to certain practices, known as alchemy, which had been practiced for several millennia in various parts of the world, particularly the Middle East.
The structure of objects we commonly use and the properties of the matter we commonly interact with are a consequence of the properties of chemical substances and their interactions. For example, steel is harder than iron because its atoms are bound together in a more rigid crystalline lattice; wood burns or undergoes rapid oxidation because it can react spontaneously with oxygen in a chemical reaction above a certain temperature; sugar and salt dissolve in water because their molecular/ionic properties are such that dissolution is preferred under the ambient conditions.
The transformations that are studied in chemistry are a result of interaction either between different chemical substances or between matter and energy. Traditional chemistry involves study of interactions between substances in a chemistry laboratory using various forms of laboratory glassware.
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