Why Study Chemistry?


Whether you realize it or not, you are already all chemists to a certain extent. Each time you eat a meal, start your car, or simply take a deep breath, you are causing chemical reactions to occur. The growth, development, and day-to-day functioning of your bodies all result from the chemical processes that go on within them.

Nearly all the objects of your everyday life – your clothes, your vehicles, even your cell phones – were created by the chemical transformation of raw materials like oil or iron ore into plastics and steel, or by the chemical treatment of natural products like wool or cotton. The majority of the food you eat is grown with the help of chemical fertilizers and/or pesticides, and it is kept from spoiling with the help of chemical preservatives.

Many people today are concerned about preserving and protecting the environment for the benefit of future generations. Much of the “GREEN” movement involves protecting the planet from the harmful effects of human activity. In order to achieve this goal, it is absolutely crucial that we understand the complex chemical systems that make up our world.

As well as being an essential part of our daily lives, chemistry is a fundamental subject in science. Concepts from Chemistry overlap with Biology, Paleontology, Medicine, Health Science, Geology, Meteorology, Physics, and Engineering. It is quite common for people with a degree in Chemistry to move into these or any other area of science.

You may be aware of the impending global helium shortage. Chemists predict that the world could run out of helium within the next century. Understanding chemistry helps us to better understand why elements like helium are non-renewable resources. Helium is an inert noble gas that does not react with other elements to form compounds. For this reason, liquid helium is an effective coolant for the magnets in high energy accelerators, like the Large Hadron Collider. Unfortunately, since gravity does not restrain such tiny particles once they’re in the upper atmosphere, loose helium atoms eventually escape into space. That means that once helium enters the atmosphere, it cannot be retrieved and is lost to Earth forever.

How does a non-reactive gas like helium relate to Biology? The impending helium shortage is more serious than you might think, affecting more than just blimps and birthday party balloons. Helium is a vital component of MRI scanners used in medical research and diagnosis. Without it, the future of medical technology and the advancement of crucial biomedical research may be impeded. Without these important diagnostic tools, the quality of patient care may also be significantly affected.

So why study Chemistry in a Biology class?

The study of Chemistry is not only fascinating, it may hold the key to our future as a species!

What do you think? After reading this blog post, click the link below and respond to the writing prompt.

“Why Study Chemistry?” Writing Prompt

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