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Offline Juan R.

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Very general chemistry question
« on: October 18, 2004, 04:48:59 AM »
This is a very general but important question.

It is well-known that chemistry suffers from multiple problems of image. People does not know what is chemistry. Chemistry is not contamination or ecological disasters.

What is chemistry?

What is the difference with biology, geology, or physics?
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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2004, 02:17:40 PM »
I think the difference is that the public sees chemistry as an "unnatural" science.  For example, biology is natural because it studies natural, living things (although sometimes with unnatural compounds), geology is the study of minerals that are already there, and physics doesn't really have many experiments that affect people.  Chemists, however, make their living trying to develop unnatural methods of making certain compounds.  Then, many of these compounds are tested for use in people as medications.  So to the lay-person a chemist is someone who wants to make an unnatural substance and put it into your body.  It's much more invasive than any of the other sciences you mentioned.  The stigma follows from this misconception.

As chemists, we know that this is not the case.  My goal as a chemist is to learn more about how atoms interact with one another in order to expand our understanding of molecules.  This is then certainly useful for making pharmaceuticals etc., but that is certainly not my goal.

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2004, 01:29:06 AM »
In my experience as a chemistry tutor and supervisor I have found that people have an expectation that any chemistry topics they do will require much more effort that equivalent biology etc subjects. I would a dollar for every time someone has told me they don't like foundation chemistry (which all science students do) and won't need it because they are going do be a biologist, environmental scientist, geologist etc. What they fail to realise is that without at least a basic knowledge of chemistry they are going to find these other subjects very difficult.

Offline Mitch

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2004, 01:57:12 AM »
and then there are those people who ask you all of their pharmaceutical questions, because a Chemist should know the name and substance of every drug.  ::)
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Offline Juan R.

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2004, 06:11:10 AM »

Hi,

I agree with movies.

People think use chemical as a synonym of artificial or synthetic. One day, say to some “layman” that both DNA and water are chemistry. In general, they will look you with skepticism. Once, a TV program said that “ecological” agriculture did not use chemistry and then I saw to a man putting water. I said that was also chemistry, water is H2O!

However, the bad public image of chemistry is exclusive of 20th century. I cite from HYLE:

“Starting with the last part of the eighteenth century and continuing for all the nineteenth century, chemistry was, in the common opinion of educated people, ‘the Science’ par excellence. It was a paradigm for the other branches of science, a guide, the main guide indeed, to understand the essence of the material world as well as the main hope to improve the quality of life in industrialized countries.”

The main question is why the own chemists have favored the flourishing of this bad image. Now, young chemists as us are obliged to battle with a hostile environment. In fact, I am launching the canonical chemistry project, but due to rejecting, I am thinking in changing the name to canonical science simply by a question of public image!

What would I do? At one hand, I would see for my future, but at the other hand, I am very reticent to change my label of chemist because I did nothing!

I consider that chemistry is the study of matter in a general sense. Physics is more focused to energy and matter structure below atomic level and Biology is focused to living matter. However there are chemists working directly with living systems and chemists working with fundamental physics. For example, there are experiments with optical isomers for testing parity violation of the standard model. Martin Quack is a chemist what wrote a report about a new model for testing the standard model of physics with 10 times more precision that experiments proposed by physicists. He uses optical properties of isomers.

Other chemist is working in a general model (published in PNAS) that was applied to population genetics.

Etc.

My two principal aims are to see to chemistry to achieve credit from public and formulate a general theory of matter in the sense of alchemists.


I also agree with Tetrahedrite

Many people see chemistry as a computer. They want use chemistry as a tool, ignoring much of its “internal structure”. And if the button of “on” is the same that of “off” then are more happy people!

Of course, chemistry is hard, but it is unnecessary study chemistry for obtain a general idea of that chemistry is. Few people have studied relativity but they have an idea about Einstein’s theory and time travels. I think that there are many popular books about physics, and genetics but few books about chemistry for laypersons.

Of course chemistry is necessary for all, Chemistry is the central science. Many of the current revolution in biology would be impossible without the previous chemical researches. The other day I read about a novel revolutionary chemical method for predicting earthquakes.

I also agree with Mitch comments

These are some of the problems of chemistry.

How could we solve it?
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ssssss

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2004, 11:48:34 AM »
This is what i think

Lets take three properties of matter into account.
1.Subatomic level[where classical mechanics fail]
2.Classical level[where classical mechanics is applied]
3.Matter-Matter interaction.

Now i think the chemistry is vast enough so there is difficult to find the Differences.But if i say what chemistry is Not is the 2nd point in classical point of view.Though the Bodies are made of subatomic particle,but they when combined Differ in a Very Radical way which is the point where Physics is Emphasized[in general point of View].

Just observe that we still not know what is the Exact position of Subatomic particles,then forget about seeing it.But these subatomic particles when combine and Form Bodies of classical size,we apply all the laws of physics[Inertia,momentum,Kinetic Energy,Rotational Energy] we get Very Very Very accurate results.Now see the Difference,what i said about subatomic particles and Now taking their combination as a whole body.

So what i think is if we take the three Points into account we can see that Chemistry has something to do with the 1st and 3rd point.

Apart from this we can also Deduce that the Methods of studying chemistry are Different from Physics But related to Mathematics.

Offline Juan R.

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2004, 08:45:41 AM »
Hi ssssss,

I agree with you, but let me do some comments.

I also think the chemistry is vast enough so there is difficult to find the differences. However, we are obliged to find them because if we do not then people will continue to rebrand chemical outcomes as being of physics or biology. For example, chemists working at IBM say that chemistry of materials is and how they make computer chips, but other people (laymen) ignore them and say that chemistry does not contribute to chips making. In fact, in a famous Spanish magazine I read the wrong idea of that chips are done without chemistry, just with light. Current chip technology is based in chemistry: silicon, dielectrics, kinetics, photochemistry, etc.

I agree with your 1st and 3rd points, but add to your 2nd the following.

At the classical level, not everything can be studied with classical mechanics, for example, thermodynamics laws are outside of mechanics. Also chemical kinetics is “classical” (macroscopic) and cannot be derived from mechanics.

Imagine that from the “quantum” version of canonical chemistry one can derive exactly the Hamiltonian equations of mechanics. Would then classical physics be considered a part of chemistry? Or perhaps we would say a sound “no” because “traditionally” classical physics was not a field of chemistry?

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ssssss

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2004, 08:55:58 AM »
Hi ssssss,

I agree with you, but let me do some comments.

I also think the chemistry is vast enough so there is difficult to find the differences. However, we are obliged to find them because if we do not then people will continue to rebrand chemical outcomes as being of physics or biology. For example, chemists working at IBM say that chemistry of materials is and how they make computer chips, but other people (laymen) ignore them and say that chemistry does not contribute to chips making. In fact, in a famous Spanish magazine I read the wrong idea of that chips are done without chemistry, just with light. Current chip technology is based in chemistry: silicon, dielectrics, kinetics, photochemistry, etc.

I agree with your 1st and 3rd points, but add to your 2nd the following.

At the classical level, not everything can be studied with classical mechanics, for example, thermodynamics laws are outside of mechanics. Also chemical kinetics is “classical” (macroscopic) and cannot be derived from mechanics.

Imagine that from the “quantum” version of canonical chemistry one can derive exactly the Hamiltonian equations of mechanics. Would then classical physics be considered a part of chemistry? Or perhaps we would say a sound “no” because “traditionally” classical physics was not a field of chemistry?



I wonder how can one Derive the classical Mechanics approach from Quantom mechanical approach.

Classical mechanics was nothing but the Mathematical formulaes derived on the basis of the Newtons laws of Physics.Isnt it?

Offline Mitch

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2004, 12:42:37 PM »
Taking the limit of a lot of these quantum mechanics laws will derive the Newtonian laws. The question is, is this a fair approximation to make? Can Quantum Mechanics that deals with atomic forces be applied to macroscale systems? The jury is still out on that one, I believe?
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ssssss

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2004, 02:42:34 AM »
Taking the limit of a lot of these quantum mechanics laws will derive the Newtonian laws. The question is, is this a fair approximation to make? Can Quantum Mechanics that deals with atomic forces be applied to macroscale systems? The jury is still out on that one, I believe?

Hmmm.I agree to some extent.But what is the harm,if the laws derived from quantom mechanics gives the Precise result?

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2004, 03:36:53 PM »
For quantum mechanics to be valid the limits must agree with the bulk propeties (classical mechanics).  I think that the methods of predicting bulk properties are covered by statistical mechanics, but I never understood that subject very well.

Offline Juan R.

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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2004, 08:34:12 AM »

Hi,

I put “quantum” instead of quantum because in its current formulation quantum mechanics is incompatible with classical mechanics. In principle, one derives classical mechanics taking the limit h -> 0, where h is Planck constant.

Exactly, I derive statistical classical mechanics, but after using a bit of “epsilon calculus” (a kind of nonstandard calculus that I invented but similar to mathematicians non standard calculus. See some comments about this on the non-official launching of canonical chemistry pdf at www.canonical.chemicalforums.com.) one directly derives the Hamiltonian equations. The usual derivation of classical mechanics from statistical mechanics is lengthier according to some monographs.

Note: Statistical mechanics is not that appear in usual physical chemistry literature with the same name. That appears in physical chemistry textbooks is statistical thermostatics. Statistical mechanics is Liouvillian formulation, i.e. a statistical formulation of mechanics. I’m sorry but there is a lot of confusion in literature.

In principle, quantum mechanics would be applicable to the macroscale scale. In practice, quantum mechanics is ill-defined in that limit and does not work. There are reformulations of quantum mechanics for dealing with large systems (Prigogine’s LPS, for instance).

From canonical science, there is a generalization of quantum mechanics that is compatible with decoherence approaches and generalized quantum formulations, and permit us derive classical formulas from “quantum” ones in the appropriate limits.

In principle, for large systems as a cat, one would wait, a priori, for a classical description. Quantum superposition principle is violated. Einstein was partially correct.

Precisely, I am working in an article where show that usual beliefs of “statistical mechanics” (that called statistical mechanics in textbook of thermostatics) are incorrect. For example, it is well know for mathematicians that ergodic hypothesis is a belief newer proved in a rigorous basis. Canonical science put right this, using a new perspective based in a non-unitary evolutor.
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Re:Very general chemistry question
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2004, 09:55:00 AM »
I think why the peaple are turning up from chemistry is that there are lot of exceptions in the subject.For an example if we see the organic chemistry,it is a totally messed up subject.We are using Resonance effect,Conjugation,Hyperconjugation,mesomeric effect...Whatever we find neccesary to explain the situation.This is not logical at all.And i think this is the point our Physists are ahead of.They work in more logical way.Our 1st step to chemistry is that to bring up a strong Foundation of the subject,rather that building tall stories on a weak base.

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