What Has Chemistry Ever Done for Me

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Chemistry is the branch of science that deals with the structure of organic and inorganic matter( any substance or organism which has a mass and occupies space), its properties and reactions; however chemistry is primarily the study of reactions that any given substance takes on when interacting with another substance. Chemistry is the main incentive for the life that we live today; it has provided modern society with facilities that make our day to day lives easier. Predominantly chemistry has allowed us to understand the composition of the world. In short this branch of science has enabled us to lead a better quality of life.

The first ever study of chemistry can be tracked back to the days of alchemy. Alchemy is an ancient and philosophical study of chemistry, the subject ranged from ancient Egypt to Islamic empires. Alchemists were the first researchers to discover elements, however today their work has been labelled as wrong, meaningless and inventions of the mind. It is an entrenched theory that alchemists believed that lead could be turned into gold and that earth was composed of only four elements, air, water, earth and fire. Alchemists were uneducated, and in simple fruitcakes, but this in fact would be to give a negative image. They did not have to ability than to investigate and speculate the hows and whys, and any chemical reaction was believed to be a magical phenomenon. Impractical as they were, alchemists were as curious as any other great scientist.

From the most simplistic items to the life saving drugs have been discovered through the study of chemistry. The first ever discovery of science was made be Democritus in 440 BC when he proposed the concept of an atom to describe the indiscrete particles that were thought to compose all types of matter. Henceforth the study of chemistry continued and up till this day it is still in progress.

A breakthrough discovery in the world of chemistry was the development of penicillin (an antibiotic used in the treatment of disease and infection), by Alexander Fleming in 1928. This miracle drug saved thousands of lives and as a result it began the pharmaceutical industry. The research was undertaken due to the alarming rate of deaths due to infection; even pricking your finger on a nail could lead to a fatal infection causing death. Prior to the discovery of penicillin, in 1909, scientists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch produced ammonia through nitrogen and hydrogen, this compound aided farmers in agriculture, as well as in the food industry.

Another interesting discovery in chemistry is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide has aided many teenagers and adults in eradicating their skins problems; this is because benzoyl peroxide is an effective treatment of most forms of acne. It has been formulated into substances such as creams and gels and is applied over the affected area. It is not fully known how benzoyl peroxide helps fight against acne but it is a presumed fact that benzoyl peroxide is absorbed into the skin and destroys acne causing bacteria through oxidisation. Other uses for benzoyl peroxide are hair dying and teeth whitening.

Joseph Lister has been one of the most influential contributors to the world of chemistry. In 1965 another scientist Louis Pasteur claimed that wounds became infected from exposure to living organisms in the air, Lister realised that this had something to do with sepsis (The presence of pus-forming bacteria or their toxins in the blood or tissues), which was an undergoing research for Lister. Lister soon discovered that a substance known as carbolic acid was being used to treat pastures infected with parasite that caused diseases in cows. And so Joseph Lister began to dress wounds with carbolic acid to prevent decay and infection in the wound. Up too this day the method is still used to treat patients who otherwise would have been left to rot away with their injuries.

One of the most controversial and publicised invention...
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