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TWDK Chemistry doodle by Giles Meakin

The science of ‘stuff’, Chemistry seeks to understand what things are made of, and how these constituents behave. This involves studying the interactions between atoms and the larger structures they form, predicting further interactions, and deriving practical applications of this knowledge.

Due to the highly versatile nature of carbon and the way it interacts with the other elements, chemistry is traditionally divided into three main subdisciplines. The first is organic chemistry: the study of molecules built around a framework of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The second subdiscipline is inorganic chemistry, which is the study of all of the remaining chemicals and their interactions. Finally physical chemists crunch numbers to analyse the inherent properties of chemical reactions and apply the laws of physics to chemical phenomena. These three subdisciplines overlap, combine and are applied to many different fields to produce a range of branches impacting on practically every aspect of the world around us.

Delve deeper into Chemistry

TWDK magnifying glassAnalytical Chemistry looks at what things are made of, and finding new ways to determine what they're made of.

TWDK magnifying glassAstrochemistry is the study of the chemical make-up of the universe, and the reactions and interactions that take place in stars and other astronomical bodies.

TWDK magnifying glassBiochemistry is a broad area of chemistry covering the chemical processes involved in life itself.

TWDK magnifying glassEnvironmental Chemistry tracks chemical processes in soil, air and water, and studies how they interact with humans, plants and animals.

TWDK magnifying glassGeochemistry is the use of Chemistry to study the composition and mechanisms of major geological systems such as Earth.

TWDK magnifying glassGreen Chemistry is concerned with the design and development of new sustainable technologies and products.

TWDK magnifying glassInorganic Chemistry looks at the entire periodic table, its trends, the formation of non-carbon-based compounds and their applications in new technologies.

TWDK magnifying glassMaterials Science deals with the structures and properties of materials.

TWDK magnifying glassNuclear Chemistry is the science of radioactive elements, and studies the effect of radiation on the chemistry of materials.

TWDK magnifying glassOrganic Chemistry focusses on carbon-based compounds such as those that make up life, and deals with molecular reactions and drug syntheses.

TWDK magnifying glassPhysical Chemistry uses mathematical modelling to discover the rate laws, mechanisms and underlying principles behind core chemistry.

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