To some, it may seem intimidating and like something that only happens in beakers on Bunsen burners in controlled labs. That is not so. Chemistry is all around you. From the fibers that wick away moisture in your clothing to the purified water in your bottle, chemistry can be found in nearly every part of our modern life.
There are many reasons for studying this fascinating subject. Whether or not you are planning on pursuing a career in chemistry, the study of this diverse subject can be rewarding on many levels. There are many advantages of studying chemistry.
What Is Chemistry?
Chemistry is the study of matter and energy and how they interact under different conditions and in a variety of settings. It is considered the central science because it dips into the other science subjects, including biology, physics, environmental science and geology.
Aside from the rudimentary skills studying chemistry can offer a student, there are many benefits of studying chemistry that work well in other areas of your schooling or your professional pursuits.
Three Reasons to Study Chemistry
There are many reasons to delve into this wide-ranging subject. However, it can be narrowed down to three reasons that chemistry is beneficial to study on any level. Three reasons to study chemistry are:
- It helps you make informed decisions about products.
- It helps you to understand chemical reactions that can increase your cooking talents.
- It teaches useful skills such as logic, reasoning and problem solving.
Reasons to Study Chemistry as a Major
Once you’ve completed a four-year degree in chemistry, there are many ways it can be applied. There is a plethora of careers in which a degree in chemistry can be used to a student’s distinct advantage.
A pre-med student can use the degree as a base for a medical career as a surgeon, biochemist, endocrinologist, pharmacist or microbiologist. A research scientist will use a four-year degree in chemistry to further his work in environmental studies. Chemistry degrees are also needed for careers such as chemical oceanographers, chemical engineers and chemical information specialists.
Taking a minor in chemistry can also boost certain careers. Patent lawyers need a healthy understanding of chemistry, as do food developers and waste management specialists.
Skills Gained From Studying Chemistry
There are many benefits of studying chemistry. Chemistry courses can teach you how to communicate complex ideas or concepts through the written and spoken word. These advanced literacy skills gained through the many papers you will write in chemistry classes can assist you in writing reports and giving presentations later in life.
Throughout your chemistry coursework, you will need to create spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and detailed reports with references. This will help you to understand and use different types of computer software that is also used in the professional workplace.
There is a lot of data handling in chemistry. Juggling complex concepts, mathematical statistics and research from a wide variety of sources will help you to hone skills that you can use for project and time management. Working with a group of students to achieve a goal will strengthen your teamwork skills.
Chemistry in the Home Field
A background in chemistry, either from a few classes or as a minor, can help you in everyday situations. Chemistry is lurking in your kitchen cupboards and under the bathroom sink. If you mix bleach and ammonia, the chemical reaction of the two cleaners creates toxic vapors called chloramines. These can create watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain and other respiratory irritations when they are inhaled.
Mixing baking soda with vinegar causes the two kitchen staples to erupt in a powerful but explosive mix. The acetic acid in the vinegar reacts to the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda. Hydrogen ions form when the two materials meet and form carbonic acid. The carbonic acid then begins to compose into bubbling water and carbon dioxide gas.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.