Chemistry is a physical science dealing with the composition of matter and how they react to one another. It is said to have been a true science around the 1600s, when the pioneering chemists began the study of the most basic structure of matter, such as elements and compounds. Chemistry is inextricably linked to physics, biology, and the maths.
Chemistry is a more modern version of Alchemy, the study of the elements (as it was known in ancient times)’”fire, water, wind and earth. The principle of transmutation, or changing one material into something else, is still one of the guiding principles for chemistry as we know it today. Some of the answers that Alchemy tried to answer were: how to turn lead into gold and how to achieve immortality (elixir of life).
Two of the more notable figures in chemistry are Antoine Lavoisier and Marie Curie. Lavoisier is known as the ‘father of modern chemistry’, for his work on the ‘law of conversion of mass’ or the ‘principle of matter conversion’ which states that a mass in a closed system will remain constant over time. He is also responsible for recognizing and naming oxygen and hydrogen in 1778 and 1783 respectively.
Marie Curie was a renowned physicist and chemist, and is the only person to win the Nobel prize in both fields of chemistry and physics. She is known for her work in radioactivity, as well as for the discovery of the elements polonium and radium.