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Chemistry LibreTexts

1: What Is Chemistry?

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    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.

    • 1.1 Basic Definitions
      Chemistry is the study of matter and its interactions with other matter and energy. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. Matter can be described in terms of physical properties and chemical properties. Physical properties and chemical properties of matter can change. Matter is composed of elements and compounds. Combinations of different substances are called mixtures. Elements can be described as metals, nonmetals, and semimetals.
    • 1.2 Chemistry as a Science
      Science is a process of knowing about the natural universe through observation and experiment. Scientists go through a rigorous process to determine new knowledge about the universe; this process is generally referred to as the scientific method. Science is broken down into various fields, of which chemistry is one. Science, including chemistry, is both qualitative and quantitative.

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