# 1: Chemistry, Matter, and Measurement

- Page ID
- 303841

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The study of chemistry will open your eyes to a fascinating world. Chemical processes are continuously at work all around us. They happen as you cook and eat food, strike a match, shampoo your hair, and even read this page. Chemistry is called the central science because a knowledge of chemical principles is essential for other sciences. You might be surprised at the extent to which chemistry pervades your life.

- 1.1: Prelude to Chemistry, Matter, and Measurement
- Quantities and measurements are as important in our everyday lives as they are in medicine. The posted speed limits on roads and highways, such as 55 miles per hour (mph), are quantities we might encounter all the time. Both parts of a quantity, the amount (55) and the unit (mph), must be properly communicated to prevent potential problems. In chemistry, as in any technical endeavor, the proper expression of quantities is a necessary fundamental skill.

- 1.2: What is Chemistry?
- Chemistry is the study of matter—what it consists of, what its properties are, and how it changes. Being able to describe the ingredients in a cake and how they change when the cake is baked is called chemistry. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space—that is, anything that is physically real.

- 1.3: The Classification of Matter
- Matter can be described with both physical properties and chemical properties. Matter can be identified as an element, a compound, or a mixture.

- 1.4: Measurements
- Chemists measure the properties of matter and express these measurements as quantities. A quantity is an amount of something and consists of a number and a unit. The number tells us how many (or how much), and the unit tells us what the scale of measurement is. For example, when a distance is reported as “5 kilometers,” we know that the quantity has been expressed in units of kilometers and that the number of kilometers is 5.

- 1.5: The International System of Units
- Recognize the SI base units. Combining prefixes with base units creates new units of larger or smaller sizes.

- 1.6: Expressing Numbers - Scientific Notation
- Scientific notation is a system for expressing very large or very small numbers in a compact manner. It uses the idea that such numbers can be rewritten as a simple number multiplied by 10 raised to a certain exponent, or power. Scientific notation expressed numbers using powers of 10.

- 1.7: Expressing Numbers - Significant Figures
- Significant figures properly report the number of measured and estimated digits in a measurement. There are rules for applying significant figures in calculations.

- 1.E: Chemistry, Matter, and Measurement (Exercises)
- These are homework exercises to accompany Chapter 1 of the Ball et al. "The Basics of GOB Chemistry" Textmap.

Thumbnail: Two small test tubes held in spring clamps. (CC BY-SA 3.0; mitchell125).