Chapter 1. What is Chemistry


If you are reading these words, you are likely starting a chemistry course. Get ready for a fantastic journey through a world of wonder, delight, and knowledge. One of the themes of this book is “chemistry is everywhere,” and indeed it is; you would not be alive if it weren’t for chemistry because your body is a big chemical machine. If you don’t believe it, don’t worry. Every chapter in this book contains examples that will show you how chemistry is, in fact, everywhere. So enjoy the ride—and enjoy chemistry.

What is chemistry? Simply put, chemistry is the study of the interactions of matter with other matter and with energy. This seems straightforward enough. However, the definition of chemistry includes a wide range of topics that must be understood to gain a mastery of the topic or even take additional courses in chemistry. In this book, we will lay the foundations of chemistry in a topic-by-topic fashion to provide you with the background you need to successfully understand chemistry.