Chemistry

Constituting the scientific study of matter at the atomic and molecular scale, chemistry deals primarily with collections of atoms, such as gases, molecules, crystals, and metals. The composition, statistical properties, transformations and reactions of these materials are studied. Chemistry also involves understanding the properties and interactions of individual atoms for use in larger-scale applications. Most chemical processes can be studied directly in a laboratory, using a series of (often well-tested) techniques for manipulating materials, as well as an understanding of the underlying processes. Chemistry is often called "the central science" because of its role in connecting the other natural sciences. Early experiments in chemistry had their roots in the system of Alchemy, a set of beliefs combining mysticism with physical experiments. The science of chemistry began to develop with the work of Robert Boyle, the discoverer of gas, and Antoine Lavoisier, who developed the theory of the Conservation of mass. The discovery of the chemical elements and the concept of Atomic Theory began to systematize this science, and researchers developed a fundamental understanding of states of matter, ions, chemical bonds and chemical reactions. The success of this science led to a complementary chemical industry that now plays a significant role in the world economy. The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons (except in the case of hydrogen-1, which is the only stable nuclide with no neutrons). The electrons of an atom are bound to the nucleus by the electromagnetic force. Likewise, a group of atoms can remain bound to each other by chemical bonds based on the same force, forming a molecule. An atom containing an equal number of protons and electrons is electrically neutral, otherwise it is positively or negatively charged and is known as an ion. An atom is classified according to the number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus: the number of protons determines the chemical element, and the number of neutrons determines the isotope of the element

[1] Chemical atoms, which in science now carry the simple name of "atom," are minuscule objects with diameters of a few tenths of a nanometer and tiny masses proportional to the volume implied by these dimensions. Atoms can only be observed individually using special instruments such as the scanning tunneling microscope. Over 99.94% of an atom's mass is concentrated in the nucleus,[note 1] with protons and neutrons having roughly equal mass. Each element has at least one isotope with an unstable nucleus that can undergo radioactive decay. This can result in a transmutation that changes the number of protons or neutrons in a nucleus.[2] Electrons that are bound to atoms possess a set of stable energy levels, or orbitals, and can undergo transitions between them by absorbing or emitting photons that match the energy differences between the levels. The electrons determine the chemical properties of an element, and strongly influence an atom's magnetic properties. The principles of quantum mechanics have been successfully used to model the observed properties of the atom. The name atom comes from the Greek ?????? (atomos, "indivisible") from ?- (a-, "not") and ????? (temno, "I cut"),[3] which means uncuttable, or indivisible, something that cannot be divided further.[4] The concept of an atom as an indivisible component of matter was first proposed by early Indian and Greek philosophers. In the 18th and 19th centuries, chemists provided a physical basis for this idea by showing that certain substances could not be further broken down by chemical methods, and they applied the ancient philosophical name of atom to the chemical entity. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, physicists discovered subatomic components and structure inside the atom, thereby demonstrating that the chemical "atom" was divisible and that the name might not be appropriate.[5][6]. However, it was retained. This has led to some debate about whether the ancient philosophers, who intended to refer to fundamental individual objects with their concept of "atoms," were referring to modern chemical atoms, or something more like indivisible subatomic particles such as leptons or quarks, or even some more fundamental particle that has yet to be discovered.