Overview of Major Fields in Chemistry

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12 Questions

Which branch of chemistry primarily deals with carbon compounds found in living organisms?

Organic Chemistry

In organic synthesis, what do chemists use to build complex molecules using simpler ones?

Functional group transformations

What aspect of chemical phenomena does physical chemistry primarily focus on?


Which branch of chemistry studies everything except carbon compounds?

Inorganic Chemistry

What do biochemists primarily focus on studying?

Carbon compounds in living organisms

How do chemists create new chemical structures in organic synthesis?

By connecting smaller building blocks together under controlled conditions

Which area of chemistry focuses on how chemicals interact within living things, including cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems?


Which area of chemistry explores the relationships between macroscopic materials and physics phenomena?

Physical chemistry

Which area of chemistry separates elements based on the number of valence electrons they possess?

Inorganic chemistry

Which area of chemistry is concerned with cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and gene expression?


Which area of chemistry deals with the synthesis and study of carbon-containing compounds?

Organic chemistry

Which area of chemistry applies tools from both physics and chemistry to predict phase transitions and reaction rates?

Physical chemistry

Study Notes

Chemistry is the science of matter, energy, and their interactions with one another. It encompasses various branches, each dealing with specific aspects of chemical phenomena. Here's an overview of some major fields within this vast subject area:

Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry deals primarily with carbon compounds, which are found in living organisms. Carbon can bond to itself and other elements like nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine, bromine, iodine, metals, and nonmetal radicals. These bonds form molecules with unique properties and reaction mechanisms that make up life processes.

In organic synthesis, chemists build complex molecules using simpler ones through a series of reactions called functional group transformations. This process allows them to create new chemical structures by connecting smaller building blocks together under controlled conditions.

Inorganic Chemistry

This branch studies everything except carbon compounds. It includes minerals, rocks, gases emitted from volcanoes, atmospheric pollutants such as smog, industrial products used in everyday life, cures for diseases, and even our own bodies.

Inorganic chemistry uses several types of periodic table classifications to help organize its information into manageable categories. For example, it separates elements according to whether they have only one valence electron, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, thirty-five, forty-nine, sixty-three, seventy-one, seventy-nine, ninety, ninety-one, ninety-four, ninety-six, ninety-eight, or more than twenty-two valence electrons.


Biochemistry focuses on how chemicals interact within living things, including cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and the entire body. Its study spans a wide range of subjects including physiology, nutrition, immunology, exercise, environmental health issues, disease states, drug discovery, and molecular genetics. Some areas of focus include cellular respiration, photosynthesis, the cell cycle, protein synthesis, gene expression, DNA replication, transcription factors, signal transduction pathways, and hormonal regulation of growth and development.

Physical Chemistry

Physical chemistry explores the relationships between macroscopic materials and physics phenomena, looking particularly at thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and spectroscopy. It applies tools of analysis from both disciplines to solve problems like predicting phase transitions, reaction rates, and energy changes during chemical reactions, as well as determining the nature of intermolecular attractions among species involved in reactions.

These four broad areas represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to chemistry. Each has countless fascinating specialties waiting to be explored further by budding scientists!

Discover the main branches of chemistry, including organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and physical chemistry. Learn about the unique focus and key concepts of each field, from carbon compounds and functional group transformations to intermolecular attractions and quantum mechanics.

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