Teenagers have likely all read about or seen movies about alchemy. Alchemy and alchemists are the words from which we now have the words chemistry and chemists. The alchemist may not have had the quality of chemistry instruments we have today, but alchemists designed the basics such as the beakers, the mortar and pestles, and the funnels. Alchemy was an attempt for some to change metal into gold. Busted; it did not work.
Science became the trend of the day in the 1500 and 1600s in Europe. Scientists observed and measured, proposed hypotheses (best guesses) and tested them with experiments. This began the scientific method of discovery, step-by-step and methodical experimentation. Still using those beakers remember.
Organic Chemistry: If it has carbon in it, it is covered under organic chemistry. There are millions of carbon containing compounds. Carbon is the basis of life. Organic chemistry studies the molecules of life. RNA and DNA studies are this type of chemistry. Medical and food research falls into this category of chemists.
Analytical Chemistry: All elements are matter and the study of matter is analytical chemistry. This keeps tabs on how the science is done. These chemists interpret matter and experimentation. Forensic research, pharmaceutical research and most labs require adherence to analytical standards.
Inorganic Chemistry: If it has no carbon, then it is inorganic chemistry. So to speak. Since carbon is rampant and important, for example, to industrial science and technology, a field of organometallic chemistry has risen as a hybrid chemistry. Catalysts used in experiments fall in this category often.
Biochemistry: When living organisms are involved, it is biochemistry. The principled research in medical labs such as Pfizer and Merck are dealing with biochemistry and the products from the chemistry which become biotechnology. DNA research is biotechnology in action. Interestingly, when my granddaughter was in Biology, they did DNA extractions from things such as strawberries. My chemistry and biology days were centered around the dead frog.
Physical Chemistry: Physical chemists study chemistry at the atomic level. Atoms are elements. When elements undergo change, we are talking about physical chemistry. Physical chemistry touches my heart as quantum physics (a subatomic world) is part of the atoms and molecules of matter. This branch of chemistry looks at kinetic energy and reaction rates, how the atom has its protons and electrons arranged in its outer cloud or shells. The study of general heat and light exists in physical chemistry. Lots of calculus here. That is a big uck for me.
All have a lot of lap over. And we have offshoots now such as nuclear chemistry, polymer chemistry, and environmental chemistry to name some.
Pure Chemistry versus Applied Chemistry: If a chemist is doing research of matter fundamentals without concern for applications, they are working in the realm of pure chemistry. If the chemist is looking for an outcome or application, they are working in applied science.
A small tidbit about a chemical reaction, the flame:
Products are made when elements are combined in chemical reactions. Lighting birthday cake candles create a chemical reaction. The match has chemical compounds that react with the oxygen in the air to create heat and flame. The more candles, the more flame is needed. Energy is the key to the chemical reaction. Every atom has energy, every molecule has energy, matter has energy. This is the kinetic theory of energy.
My atoms are tired of sitting at the computer, so I am off to do something else. More chemistry soon.