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Chemistry is a natural science and also a school subject. The word comes from the ancient Egyptian language and means “black earths”. Chemistry is about which substances there are and what properties they have. Another task of chemists is to find new fabrics that have special properties.

Important substances include iron, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen or carbon. Chemistry also investigates transformations in which new substances are created, the so-called chemical reactions. A chemical reaction is, for example, the burning of a candle, can be seen in the flame: gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour are burned when the candle wax is burned. There is also a chemical reaction when baking cakes: new substances are created from the liquid dough and the firm cake is then produced. An explosion is also a chemical reaction.

What do you do in the school subject chemistry?

Chemistry is usually only available as a school subject in Germany from the 7th. Class or even later. It depends on the state where the school is standing. In the school subject Chemistry, among other things, experiments are being conducted. Special equipment and chemical substances selected by the chemistry teacher are used.

However, students are not allowed to do all the experiments they want to do. Because that can become very dangerous. The chemistry teacher is familiar with this, because he studied chemistry at the university. That’s why he explains to the students exactly what they should do and what they need to pay attention to as security.

Chemistry also plays an important role in the household. Many cleaning agents are not entirely not harmless. In chemistry lessons, students learn how to deal with such dangerous substances. The students are already learning some important things about atoms, molecules and their properties.

What do chemists do?

Chemists have researched many years: Which atoms and molecules ensure that a certain substance has certain properties? In the meantime, many important connections are known. Nevertheless, research in chemistry continues.

Chemists have invented and produced many substances that did not exist in nature before. These include the plastics, which we sometimes call “plastics” colloquially. In the past, while petroleum was mainly used for the production of such plastics, the chemists today also use natural products that a farmer can produce. Even environmentally friendly electric cars would be inconceivable without chemical research.

Chemists are also investigating the environment for substances. They pursue these questions, for example: Is the water clean? Is it possible to eat or are poisons contained in it? Since poisons cannot always be seen, taste or smell, this must be checked for safety. The chemists know the properties of substances, including the poisons. This allows them to detect the toxins with the help of certain chemical reactions. Sometimes they also use methods from physics to detect certain substances.

Before chemistry was an exact natural science, alchemists were already experimenting with chemical substances. For example, they tried to produce gold from other substances. This did not work, but one of the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger found a way to make porcelain in his experiments. However, alchemy was not a modern science.