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Chemistry LibreTexts

1: Chemical and Biological Foundations

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    • 1.1: Biological Foundations
      Chemists think about molecules, biologists think about living things.  Biochemists need to have facility with both and be able to think on the molecular, cellular, and organismal scales!
    • 1.2: Atoms, Ions, Molecules
      At its most fundamental level, life is made up of matter. Matter is any substance that occupies space and has mass. Elements are unique forms of matter with specific chemical and physical properties that cannot be broken down into smaller substances by ordinary chemical reactions. There are 118 elements, but only 92 occur naturally. The remaining elements are synthesized in laboratories and are unstable.
    • 1.3: Intermolecular Forces
      The physical properties of condensed matter (liquids and solids) can be explained in terms of the kinetic molecular theory. In a liquid, intermolecular attractive forces hold the molecules in contact, although they still have sufficient kinetic energy to move past each other. Intermolecular attractive forces, collectively referred to as van der Waals forces, are responsible for the behavior of liquids and solids and are electrostatic in nature.
    • 1.4: Carbon and Functional Groups
      Cells are made of many complex molecules called macromolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), carbohydrates, and lipids. The macromolecules are a subset of organic molecules (any carbon-containing liquid, solid, or gas) that are especially important for life. The fundamental component for all of these macromolecules is carbon.
    • 1.5: Water, Equilibrium, and Buffers
      When it comes to water, we’re literally drowning in it, as water is by far the most abundant component of every cell. To understand life, we begin the discussion with the basics of water, because everything that happens in cells, even reactions buried deep inside enzymes, away from water, is influenced by water’s chemistry.

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