Why the Basics of Chemistry Are Important—Even If You Are Not a Chemist

Modified on by Kaitlin Goodrich

basics of chemistry

Ah, chemistry. Every year, thousands of students complain about the subject. Not only is chemistry sometimes difficult, but many students also find it to be boring. While it’s easy to hate any subject the day before a big test, it may be time to reconsider the notion that chemistry is a waste.

At its core, chemistry explains how the world around us works. After all, everything (including us) is made out of atoms and chemical compounds. That means that when we know the basics of chemistry we can understand how everything in the world interacts. When you understand the basics of chemistry, you can understand the world around you a lot better.

Why Should I Study the Basics of Chemistry?

Chemistry is sometimes called the “central science,” because it connects just about all the other sciences to each other. When you know chemistry, you can better understand how biology, physics, geology, environmental science, and so many other disciplines work together. Without a basic understanding of chemistry, you can forget about understanding the other sciences!

Even if you never plan on being a chemist or scientist at all, chemistry is a subject worth exploring. Without realizing it, we participate in chemical reactions every second. A chemical reaction allows us to move our eyes across this page to read. Another chemical reaction during baking created the muffin you had for breakfast. Even breathing requires complex chemical interactions within our bodies. Everyone needs to understand the basics of chemistry, because whether we realize it or not, we use chemistry every day.

Chemistry Helps Us Understand the World Around Us Better

When we study the basics of chemistry, we study how everything in our world works. Enjoying the view during a walk? Chemistry explains why the leaves change color so prettily. Kicking back with a few cold ones and friends? Chemistry explains how beer is made. Chemistry even can explain how to have a better hair day and why we need certain foods to survive. By knowing the basics, we know what is happening in our world and have more control over it.

It’s said that knowledge is power. With the basics of chemistry, your knowledge increases dramatically. Just because you aren’t a chemistry expert doesn’t mean that a basic knowledge won’t improve your life or help you understand aspects of it better.

Chemistry Allows Us to Make Informed Decisions

Since chemistry is the basis of everything in life, knowing the basics allows us to make smarter decisions. With a knowledge of chemistry, you can form better opinions about the day’s news. You will be able to distinguish the truth from the lies in environmental reporting, and better understand the meaning of a chemical spill. You can understand the true impact of product recalls and deficiencies. You can even better decide what your opinion on public policy should be by using your own knowledge of science rather than trying to figure out which politician or pundit is the least untrustworthy.

Even smaller decisions become easier with a knowledge of chemistry. You can read product labels and know whether or not a product will really work as it claims. It’s harder to scam a chemistry buff! Your sauce will thicken when you want and your bread will rise, because you will understand the chemistry behind what you are cooking. You will always know what the medications you take actually do to your body. You can even clean more efficiently and safely: your chemistry knowledge will guide you to the best chemical to remove a stain or scrub clean a surface while protecting you from toxic mixes.

Chemistry Is Fun

Sure, studying chemistry can be a challenge at times. The math can be difficult, and just like any other subject, you need to study hard to do well. But chemistry can be an incredibly fun subject when you give it a chance. After all, there are millions of chemical reactions with crazy or funny results. Other chemical reactions create tasty treats in the kitchen. These chemical reactions aren’t just discussed in most chemistry classes. They are explored in the lab, which means you have a chance to do them yourself. What other subject allows you to create explosions, change materials’ colors, or make things glow in the dark during class?

Stop thinking about chemistry as a subject to dread, and start thinking about chemistry as the basis of life. When you realize how applicable the basics of chemistry really are, you’ll realize just how helpful — and fun — the topic can truly be. Chemist or not, you need to know chemistry. If you are struggling with the basics of chemistry, it’s not too late to learn. Brainscape has an awesome deck of Chemistry 101 flashcards that you can use to practice. It’s never too late to start applying chemistry more deliberately in your life.

How do you use chemistry every day? Let us know in the comments!

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