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Science, Evolution, and Creationism, by the National Academies, focuses on teaching evolution in today's classrooms. Check out the other publications in our online store.
The periodic table of the elements with metallic elements colored in green, nonmetallic in orange and metalloids in blue.
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Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of matter, energy, and their interactions. Chemists study the composition of substances, their properties, and how they react with each other under varying circumstances. Indeed, chemists work to develop new substances, with properties that help us solve problems faced by society today.

Because chemistry deals with the fundamental structure of matter (such as the structure of the atom, electrons, protons, and neutrons), it overlaps with physics. Because chemistry is involved in the biology of life (for instance, in photosynthesis), it overlaps with biology. Similarly, 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 the properties of Earth materials, working to understand how they vary under different pressures and temperatures. Geochemists study the abundances of the chemical elements in minerals, soils, rocks, and ores, as well as in the Earth's hydrosphere and atmosphere. They study how these elements move and change due to processes in the Earth system.

Biogeochemistry is the study of the chemical composition of substances in the natural environment, and how they change based on chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes in the Earth system. Biogeochemists study cycles in the Earth system, such as the carbon cycle and nitrogen cycle, to understand the role of these substances in the Earth system.

The origin of the word "chemistry" is not clear. It appears to have evolved from the word "alchemy", which may come from the Arabic word "al-kimia". Alchemy was the practice of trying to change common metals into gold, and attempts to develop other magical compounds that would allow immortality or ultimate wisdom.

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is the name of the process by which autotrophs (self-feeders) convert water, carbon dioxide, and solar energy into sugars and oxygen. It is a complex chemical process by which plants and...more

The Periodic Table of the Elements

Everything you see around you is made of tiny particles called atoms, but not all atoms are the same. Different combinations of protons , neutrons and electrons make different types of atoms and these...more

What Is a Mineral?

Minerals occur naturally on rocky planets and form the building blocks of rocks. They are non-living, solid, and, like all matter, are made of atoms of elements. There are many different types of minerals...more

Nitric Acid - HNO3

Nitric acid is a colorless, corrosive liquid and a toxic acid which can cause severe burns. Nitric acid consists of nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. Nitric acid, in its gas phase, is present in very...more

Sulfuric Acid - H2SO4

Sulfuric acid is a viscous, oily liquid and a strong acid which can cause severe burns. Sulfuric acid consists of sulfur, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. Sulfuric acid is one of the components of acid rain....more

Methane - CH4

Methane is gas that is found in small quantities in Earth's atmosphere. Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon, consisting of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas....more

Ammonia - NH3

Ammonia is a chemical compound that is a colorless, flammable gas at normal temperatures and pressures. Ammonia is toxic, corrosive to some materials, and has a pungent odor. An ammonia molecule (NH3)...more

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