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An oil painting of a chemist (by Henrika ?antel in 1932)

Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with elements and compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a reaction with other substances.

In the scope of its subject, chemistry occupies an intermediate position between physics and biology. It is sometimes called the central science because it provides a foundation for understanding both basic and applied scientific disciplines at a fundamental level. For example, chemistry explains aspects of plant chemistry (botany), the formation of igneous rocks (geology), how atmospheric ozone is formed and how environmental pollutants are degraded (ecology), the properties of the soil on the moon (cosmochemistry), how medications work (pharmacology), and how to collect DNA evidence at a crime scene (forensics).

Chemistry addresses topics such as how atoms and molecules interact via chemical bonds to form new chemical compounds. There are four types of chemical bonds: covalent bonds, in which compounds share one or more electron(s); ionic bonds, in which a compound donates one or more electrons to another compound to produce ions (cations and anions); hydrogen bonds; and Van der Waals force bonds.

Selected article

Technetium is a chemical element that has the symbol Tc and the atomic number 43. Pronounced tek-nee-s(h)ee-um, the chemical properties of this silvery grey, radioactive, crystalline transition metal are intermediate between rhenium and manganese. Its short-lived isotope Tc-99m is used in nuclear medicine for a wide variety of diagnostic tests. Tc-99 is used as a gamma ray-free source of beta particles, and its pertechnetate ion (TcO-
) could find use as an anodic corrosion preventer for steel (this possible use is hindered by technetium's radioactivity). The pertechnetate forms a technetium dioxide layer on the steel surface, this TcO2 formation explains how iron powder can be used to remove technetium from water. It is also possible to absorb technetium on activated carbon.

Dmitri Mendeleev predicted many of the properties of element 43, which he called ekamanganese, well before its actual discovery (see Mendeleev's predicted elements). In 1937 its isotope Tc-97 became the first element to be artificially produced, hence its name (from the Greek τεχνητος, meaning "artificial"). Most technetium produced on Earth is a by-product of fission of uranium-235 in nuclear reactors and is extracted from nuclear fuel rods. No isotope of technetium has a half-life longer than 4.2 million years (Tc-98), so its detection in red giants in 1952 helped bolster the theory that stars can produce heavier elements. On earth, technetium occurs naturally only in uranium ores as a product of spontaneous fission; the quantities are minute but have been measured.


History and Philosophy of Chemistry

Antoine Lavoisier

Many chemists have an interest in the history of chemistry. Those with philosophical interests will be interested that the philosophy of chemistry has quite recently developed along a path somewhat different from the general philosophy of science.

Other articles that might interest you are:

There is a Wikipedia Project on the History of Science.

Chemistry Resources

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popflock.com Resource: WikiProject Chemicals/Data is a collection of links and references that are useful for chemistry-related works. This includes free online chemical databases, publications, patents, computer programs, and various tools.

unit-conversion.info A good place to figure out what equals what.

General Chemistry Online Clear text and comprehensive coverage of general chemistry topics by Fred Senese, Dept. of Chemistry Frostburg State University

General Chemistry Demonstration at Purdue Video clips (and descriptions) of lecture demonstrations.

Chemistry Webercises Directory A large listing of chemistry resources maintained by Steven Murov, Emeritus Chemistry Professor Modesto Junior College.

MathMol MathMol (Mathematics and Molecules) is a good starting point for those interested in the field of molecular modeling.

ABC-Chemistry A directory of free full-text journals in chemistry, biochemistry and related subjects.

The Element Song A goofy little song about all of the elements.

Selected image

Meitner and Hahn

Chemist Otto Hahn and physicist Lise Meitner collaborated on radiochemistry for thirty years in Berlin. In 1918 they discovered the first long-lived isotope of protactinium, and they are also both credited for the 1938 discovery of nuclear fission. Hahn went on to win the 1944 Nobel Prize for Chemistry alone, but Meitner is regarded as having provided the explanation for Hahn's observations. Meitner had fled Nazi Germany in 1938, preventing joint publication. She is now commemorated in element no. 109, meitnerium.

Selected biography

Harold Urey
Harold Urey (1893-1981) was an American physical chemist, who won the 1934 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on isotopes, specifically the discovery of deuterium, a hydrogen isotope, and the production of heavy water. He also performed pioneering research in cosmochemistry, which studies the origin and development of elements and their isotopes, primarily within the solar system. Urey, along with his student Stanley Miller, may be best remembered for the renowned Miller-Urey experiment, which shows that a mixture of ammonia, methane and hydrogen, when exposed to ultraviolet radiation and water, can interact to form amino acids, the "building blocks" of terrestrial life. This experiment followed on from Urey's work on the oxygen isotope 18O, and is considered to be pioneering work in the field of paleoclimatology, as it attempts to explain the composition of the early Earth's atmosphere.

Techniques used by chemists

Equipment used by chemists

Chemistry in society

Chemistry in industry



Periodic Table

Group 1 2 3   4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
alkali metals
Alkaline earth metals Pnicto­gens Chal­co­gens Halo­gens Noble gases


Hydro­gen1H He­lium2He
2 Lith­ium3Li Beryl­lium4Be Boron5B Carbon6C Nitro­gen7N Oxy­gen8O Fluor­ine9F Neon10Ne
3 So­dium11Na Magne­sium12Mg Alumin­ium13Al Sili­con14Si Phos­phorus15P Sulfur16S Chlor­ine17Cl Argon18Ar
4 Potas­sium19K Cal­cium20Ca Scan­dium21Sc Tita­nium22Ti Vana­dium23V Chrom­ium24Cr Manga­nese25Mn Iron26Fe Cobalt27Co Nickel28Ni Copper29Cu Zinc30Zn Gallium31Ga Germa­nium32Ge Arsenic33As Sele­nium34Se Bromine35Br Kryp­ton36Kr
5 Rubid­ium37Rb Stront­ium38Sr Yttrium39Y Zirco­nium40Zr Nio­bium41Nb Molyb­denum42Mo Tech­netium43Tc​[97] Ruthe­nium44Ru Rho­dium45Rh Pallad­ium46Pd Silver47Ag Cad­mium48Cd Indium49In Tin50Sn Anti­mony51Sb Tellur­ium52Te Iodine53I Xenon54Xe
6 Cae­sium55Cs Ba­rium56Ba Lan­thanum57La 1 asterisk Haf­nium72Hf Tanta­lum73Ta Tung­sten74W Rhe­nium75Re Os­mium76Os Iridium77Ir Plat­inum78Pt Gold79Au Mer­cury80Hg Thallium81Tl Lead82Pb Bis­muth83Bi Polo­nium84Po​[209] Asta­tine85At​[210] Radon86Rn​[222]
7 Fran­cium87Fr​[223] Ra­dium88Ra​[226] Actin­ium89Ac​[227] 1 asterisk Ruther­fordium104Rf​[267] Dub­nium105Db​[268] Sea­borgium106Sg​[269] Bohr­ium107Bh​[270] Has­sium108Hs​[269] Meit­nerium109Mt​[278] Darm­stadtium110Ds​[281] Roent­genium111Rg​[282] Coper­nicium112Cn​[285] Nihon­ium113Nh​[286] Flerov­ium114Fl​[289] Moscov­ium115Mc​[290] Liver­morium116Lv​[293] Tenness­ine117Ts​[294] Oga­nesson118Og​[294]
1 asterisk Cerium58Ce Praseo­dymium59Pr Neo­dymium60Nd Prome­thium61Pm​[145] Sama­rium62Sm Europ­ium63Eu Gadolin­ium64Gd Ter­bium65Tb Dyspro­sium66Dy Hol­mium67Ho Erbium68Er Thulium69Tm Ytter­bium70Yb Lute­tium71Lu  
1 asterisk Thor­ium90Th Protac­tinium91Pa Ura­nium92U Neptu­nium93Np​[237] Pluto­nium94Pu​[244] Ameri­cium95Am​[243] Curium96Cm​[247] Berkel­ium97Bk​[247] Califor­nium98Cf​[251] Einstei­nium99Es​[252] Fer­mium100Fm​[257] Mende­levium101Md​[258] Nobel­ium102No​[259] Lawren­cium103Lr​[266]

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  1. ^ Meija, Juris; et al. (2016). "Atomic weights of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)". Pure and Applied Chemistry. 88 (3): 265-91. doi:10.1515/pac-2015-0305.
  2. ^ Meija, Juris; et al. (2016). "Atomic weights of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)". Pure and Applied Chemistry. 88 (3). Table 2, 3 combined; uncertainty removed. doi:10.1515/pac-2015-0305.


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