- Education and Science»
Upon completion of this lesson, the students should be able to:
- indicate the history and development of Chemistry
- enumerate the different branches of Chemistry
- identify some of the famous men of Chemistry
- discuss the importance and uses of Chemistry
History of Chemistry
The science of Chemistry started in 2000 B.C. – 300 A.D.
These are some of the significant discoveries that led to the development of Chemistry as a science.
The earliest chemists were practical craftsmen. The drawings from ancient wall paintings show Egyptians mixing molten metals to make bronze, copper, gold, tin, iron, lead, silver and electrum.
300 – 1400
In their search for the formula to make gold, medieval alchemists developed many chemical compounds and valuable apparatus.
1400 – 1600
Paracelsus, a German physician and alchemist, laid the foundations of medical chemistry in the 16th Century by Using chemicals as medicines.
Robert Boyle, an Irishman introduced rigorous scientific method to the study of chemistry, helping rid it of occult ideas of alchemy in the process.
Apparatus used by Antoine Lavoisier in his precise experiments showed that combustion was reaction involving air and not the mythical fluid, phlogiston.
The development of the periodic chart of elements first devised by Mendeleeve, was the chart with a list of elements by weight and groups them according to properties.
In the 1920s came the discovery of how to “polymerize” or combine molecules like the nylon 66 component modeled below into long useful chains.
Chemistry, the science that investigates the properties and transformations of substances, had its origins in the laboratories of alchemists. Alchemy eventually expired under the impact of science, but its tools and procedures were taken over in the 16th Century by the new study of medical chemistry. Men such as Paracelsus and Van Helmont gained shrewed insight into chemical laws as they attempted to find cures for bodily ailments. Lavosier’s provocative experiments with combustion in the 18th Century completed the transformation of chemistry into an exact science.
Most of the knowledge gathered by these men was in the field of inorganic chemistry. As late as the 19th Century, chemists believed that a mysterious “vital forces” was necessary to make substances like those created by living things, the so-called organic compounds, all containing carbon. However, in 1828, Friedrich Wohler produced the organic compound urea in a simple laboratory experiment. Synthetic organic compounds are among our most useful chemical products today. Their recent soaring proliferation has largely been due to the discovery of “polymerization”-a process that enables chemist to create new, tailor-made molecules and link them together to make plastics, textiles or medicines.
Branches of Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry is the study of compounds that do not contain carbon.
- Organic Chemistry is the study of compounds that contain carbon.
- Physical Chemistry is the study of heat, electricity, and other forms of energy in chemical processes.
Famous Men of Chemistry
These are the famous men of Chemistry:
- Democritus of Greece taught 2,300 years ago that all things were made of atoms.
- Roger Bacon, an English monk, saw the need for careful experimentation in alchemy. Alchemy was one of the earliest forms of chemistry. This ancient practice combined science, religion, philosophy and magic.
- Philippus Paracelsus promoted the use of chemistry in medicine during the 1500’s.
- Robert Boyle attacked the ancient theories of alchemy and became the first and real chemist.
- Antoine Lavoisier founded modern chemistry by explaining how oxygen forms compounds.
- Sir Humprey Davy discovered several elements and invested a safety lamp for miners.
- Jones J. Berzellius calculated atomic weight and began the use of modern chemical symbols.
- Dmitri Mendeleev discovered that an element’s properties depend on its atomic weight.
- Friedrich Wohler was the first chemist to make an organic compound in the laboratory.
- Thomas Graham a founder of physical chemistry and explained how gases mix with each other.
- Antoine Henri Becquerel discovered that uranium gives off rays similar to x-rays.
- Glenn T. Seaborg was one of the discoverers of artificial elements heavier than uranium.
- Melvin Calvin explained how plants make food by the process of photosynthesis.
Importance of Chemistry
Chemistry is the science dealing with materials, their composition, and the changes, which they undergo. Chemistry fits into our lives. It offers new chemical frontiers and tells us what benefits may flow from them. Chemistry contributes to our existence, our culture, and our quality of life. Chemistry is concerned with the changes we see around us like the rusting of iron, growing of grass, burning of wood and many more. Without these changes or chemical reactions our Planet Earth would be lifeless. A plant takes carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil to produce carbohydrates through a wondrous series of chemical reactions called photosynthesis. All living processes are chemical reactions. Everything we use, wear, live in, ride in, and play with is produced through controlled chemical reactions. Chemists design reactions that will convert chemical substances we find around us into chemical substances that serve our needs.
Chemistry answers the needs of our society through a deep understanding of the factors that govern and furnish control of chemical reactions. It plays a critical role in man’s attempt to feed the world population, to top new sources of energy, to clothe and house humankind, to provide renewable substitutes for dwindling or scarce materials, to improve health and conquer disease, and to monitor and protect our environment. Because of this responsiveness to human needs, chemistry has become a crucial factor in the nation’s economic well being. Aside from that, our culture believes that learning about our place in the universe is not enough reason for encouraging scientific inquiry. Nothing concerns humans more than questions about the nature of life and how to preserve it. Since all life processes are brought about by chemical changes, understanding chemical reactivity is a vital foundation for our ultimate understanding of life. Thus chemistry, along with biology, contributes to human knowledge in areas of universal philosophical significance.
Bizarre Facts about Chemistry
Chemistry is a very interesting science and it is really made up of facts which seem too strange to be true. Here are some of the bizarre facts that might interest you from Strange and Bizarre Chemistry by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D, a Chemistry Expert:
- Liquid oxygen is blue
- Some radioactive elements really do glow.
- You can die from drinking too much water.
- If you mix half a liter of alcohol with half a liter of water, the volume of the mixture will be less than one liter.
- Liquid water is more dense than solid water (ice).
- You can melt a sample of the element gallium just by holding it in your hand.
- Under certain conditions, hot water will freeze more quickly than cold water.
- You can't solidify helium at normal pressures, even at absolute zero. (You can solidify it at extremely high pressure and low temperature.
Chemistry 101 - What Is Chemistry? What Chemistry Is, What Chemists Do, Why Study Chemistry
- Chemistry 101 - What Is Chemistry?
Start learning chemistry with the basics. Learn what chemistry is, what chemists do, and why it's important to study chemistry.
The Importance Of Chemistry In Our Daily Life
- The Importance Of Chemistry In Our Daily Life
The Importance Of Chemistry In Our Daily Life
Introduction to Chemistry
I. Identify the following:
__________________1. discovered that uranium gives off rays similar to x-rays.
__________________2. first chemist to make an organic compound in the laboratory.
__________________3. taught that all things were made of atoms.
__________________4. explained how gases mix with each other.
__________________5. discovered that an element’s properties depend on its atomic weight.
__________________6. founded modern chemistry.
__________________7. attacked the ancient theories of alchemy and became the first real chemist.
__________________8. calculated atomic weights and began the use of modern chemical symbols.
__________________9. explained how plants make food by means of photosynthesis.
_________________10. founded physical chemistry.
II. Answer the following questions:
- Make a list of the famous men of chemistry and note their contributions.
- Enumerate and discuss the importance of chemistry in our daily lives.