Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

4: The Structure of Atoms

Knowledge of chemical reactivity and properties may be approached on both the macroscopic and microscopic levels. Macroscopically this involves what is called descriptive chemistry. The person who first carries out a chemical reaction describes what happened, usually in terms of a balanced equation, and lists properties of any new substances. This enables other scientists to repeat the experiment if they wish. Even if the work is not carried out again, the descriptive report allows prediction of what would happen if it were repeated.