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Our Glaciers: Then and Now activity kit helps you see the changes taking place in glaciers around the world. See all our activity kits and classroom activities.
The periodic table of the elements with metallic elements colored in green, nonmetallic in orange and metalloids in blue.
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L.Gardiner/Windows to the Universe

Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of matter, energy, and how they effect each other. Chemists study the what substances are made of and what they do, and how they react with each other. Chemists work to develop new substances, with properties that can help us.

Because chemistry deals with the structure of matter (such as the structure of the atom, it is related to physics. Because chemistry is involved in the biology of life (for instance, how plants grow), it is related to biology. Because geology involves study of the matter the Earth and other bodies in the solar system are made of, geology involves chemistry.

Geochemistry is the study of Earth materials, and how they change. Geochemists study the abundances of the elements in minerals, soils, rocks, and ores, as well as in water and the atmosphere.

Biogeochemistry is the study of the composition of substances in the natural environment, and how they change. Biogeochemists study cycles in the Earth, such as the carbon cycle and nitrogen cycle.

People are not sure where the word "chemistry" comes from. It may come from the word "alchemy", which may come from the Arabic word "al-kimia". In the Middle Ages, alchemists tried to change regular metals into gold, and to find magical compounds that would allow immortality or wisdom.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF