Chemistry: What Is It?

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Chemistry is the scientific study of matter. Remember, matter is any substance – liquid, gas, or solid. Chemists study the composition of matter – what it’s made of – and how it interacts with energy and other substances.

By studying chemistry, scientists can develop new products, such as plastics or medicines, for people and animals. Scientists aren’t the only people who use chemistry, though. Chemistry is a part of everyday life. The Maillard Reaction, a reaction between heat and the sugars in food, causes cakes, cookies, and even meat and vegetables to brown in the oven.


Fun Facts

  • The hair dye used to color someone’s hair was developed using chemistry.
  • Firefighters study chemistry to understand how fires spread and how to contain them.
  • Dentists, doctors, and nurses must understand chemistry as they give medicines and prescribe treatments.

Chemistry Vocabulary

Chemist: A scientist who studies chemistry.

Matter: Any substance on Earth. You may be able to see, touch, or smell the substance, but not always.

Compound: Matter made from a combination of elements.

Learn More

Visit Khan Academy to learn more about chemistry.

Q and A

Question: Why should I study chemistry?

Answer: First, my friend, the study of chemistry is interesting and fun. When you study chemistry, you learn more about the way the world works. The study of chemistry is important for many different careers.