Chemistry: Why Study Chemistry?

Why Study Chemistry?

When most people think of the word "chemistry," they think of a sinister old man in a white lab coat giggling evilly over a bubbling beaker. This image probably comes from movies and television, which usually portray chemists as the creators of terrible monsters, world-destroying super-weapons, and insects that grow to abnormal sizes and terrify the residents of small towns in Texas. Fortunately, in recent years, the media has revised their former image of chemists—we're now sometimes depicted as senile rather than insane.

In any case, most people put off taking chemistry until the last possible minute, the same way most of us put off root canal surgery until flames start shooting out of our teeth. Don't worry if you're in the same boat. Historically, chemistry has been a source of stress since the times when it was first realized that mixing chemical A with chemical B formed a green powder that fended off witches. Fortunately, recent discoveries indicate that witches don't exist.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chemistry © 2003 by Ian Guch. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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