What Are the 5 Branches of Chemistry and Define Each?

The study of chemistry is broken down into a number of branches. The branch of chemistry that you specialize in often depends on your career aspirations and interests. 

While the scope of chemistry is broad and there are many different subfields, the field is generally divided into five main branches. Keep reading to get acquainted with the 5 branches of chemistry and their definitions.

What Are the 5 Branches of Chemistry and Define Each?

The 5 Branches of Chemistry are the following:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry Chemistry

Read on to learn more about these branches. If you’re interested in becoming a chemist or another type of scientist, it helps to know what those different fields involve so that you can plan accordingly with your education. 

What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is the scientific study of matter with its composition, structure, properties, and change. Chemistry is a physical science that studies the composition of substances, their properties, and their reactions. 

The word chemistry comes from the Greek word “khēmia” meaning “to make or to mix.” The word was first used by the ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle, in about 325 BC.

Chemistry is one of the most important areas of science because it underpins all other sciences. It can be seen in every aspect of life, from medicine to plastics to fuel cells.

The study of chemistry is broken down into a number of branches. The branch of chemistry that you specialize in often depends on your career aspirations and interests.

Chemistry is a very broad concept and can be applied to almost any field of study. It is the study of matter and its properties. Even though there are different branches of chemistry, they all overlap in some way or another.

While the scope of chemistry is broad and there are many different subfields, the field is generally divided into five main branches: analytical, organic, inorganic, physical, and biochemistry.

What is Analytical Chemistry?

Analytical chemistry is the branch of chemistry that focuses on the identification, composition, and properties of substances. Analytical chemists also are responsible for discovering and developing new techniques for chemical analysis. 

This branch is closely linked to other fields including biochemistry, ecology, forensic science, and medicine. Analytical chemists often write the first chapter in the book on a new substance because they study the composition of a substance and determine whether it’s safe for humans. 

Analytical chemists employ a diverse range of techniques to break down substances into their constituent parts. An analysis is usually done in a laboratory setting because the equipment used to break down substances is very delicate and sensitive. 

Because analytical chemists study the chemical makeup of everything from microbes to human tissue, they’re incredibly important to society.

What is Organic Chemistry?

Organic chemistry is the study of chemical compounds containing carbon, especially those that are biologically significant. While the field of organic chemistry gained prominence in the 19th century when it was first used to create industrial chemicals and dyes, it’s also the foundation of modern pharmaceutical drugs and biological research. 

Organic chemists are concerned with designing and synthesizing new molecules with specific properties and functions. They also study the chemical reactions and transformations that occur when these molecules interact with one another and with other chemicals. 

While the field of organic chemistry has many applications, it earned its name because most of these biologically significant compounds contain carbon. 

Organic chemists are often concerned with the methods of synthesis, or the processes of creating new compounds. This can include a variety of techniques, including chemical reactions, biochemical approaches such as fermentations, and the use of enzymes.

What is Inorganic Chemistry?

Inorganic chemistry is the study of chemical compounds that do not contain carbon. This may seem a bit strange at first, but it makes sense when you realize that carbon and organic chemistry go hand-in-hand. 

Inorganic chemists are studying the compounds that are important to life but don’t contain carbon. Inorganic chemists study a wide variety of compounds including metals, minerals, salts, and non-metallic elements such as hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. 

Inorganic chemists are primarily concerned with the ways in which these elements interact with one another, especially at high temperatures and pressures.

What is Physical Chemistry?

Physical chemistry is the study of chemical phenomena that are not attributable to the chemical itself, but to the arrangement of the atoms in the substance. 

Physical chemistry is the foundation of many other branches of chemistry and applies to a wide range of topics. For example, physical chemists study the properties of a substance using its chemical composition as a starting point, but they don’t concern themselves with the reactions and transformations that may take place when the substance is combined with other chemicals. 

Instead, physical chemistry focuses on the way that atoms are arranged in a molecule and how they interact with each other. Physical chemists are concerned with understanding the properties of substances under a wide variety of conditions.

These conditions include high temperatures and pressures, in various concentrations, and in many different environments. Physical chemistry is a relatively broad and interdisciplinary field, with applications in fields such as biology and engineering.

What is Biochemistry?

Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes found in living organisms. It is sometimes described as the bridge between chemistry and biology and is commonly associated with molecular biology. 

Biochemistry is a relatively interdisciplinary subject since it draws from the fields of chemistry, biology, molecular biology, and biophysics, as well as several applied disciplines such as medicine and agriculture. 

Biochemists are primarily concerned with studying the chemical reactions that occur within living organisms and the ways in which these reactions are regulated. 

Biochemistry is a very important field of study, as the chemical reactions that occur in living organisms drive just about every process in the human body. 

Biochemistry is also a very wide-ranging field, and research often draws from a variety of other fields of chemistry such as organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, and synthetic chemistry.

Conclusion 

The study of chemistry is broken down into a number of branches. The branch of chemistry that you specialize in often depends on your career aspirations and interests. Analytical, organic, inorganic, physical, and biochemistry are the main branches of chemistry. 

Analytical chemists study the composition of substances and determine their properties. It is concerned with designing and synthesizing molecules with specific properties and functions. Inorganic chemists study the compounds that are important to life but don’t contain carbon. 

Physical chemists are concerned with understanding the properties of substances under a wide variety of conditions. Biochemists study the chemical reactions that occur within living organisms. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): what are the 5 branches of chemistry define each?

Who is the real Father of Chemistry?

The “father of modern chemistry” is Antoine Lavoisier because of his work in determining that oxygen was a key substance in combustion. He is also the one who gave the element its name and the developer of the modern system of naming chemical substances.

What are the basics of chemistry?

The basic unit or components of Chemistry are the atom and molecules.

How many elements are there?

There are 118 known elements on the periodic table. Each has its own chemical symbol that symbolizes the element’s name for easy distinction.

Reference

Foresman, J., & Frish, E. (1996). Exploring chemistry. Gaussian Inc., Pittsburg, USA.

Christian, G. D., Dasgupta, P. K., & Schug, K. A. (2013). Analytical chemistry. John Wiley & Sons.

Silbey, R. J., Alberty, R. A., & Bawendi, M. G. (2005). Physical chemistry. Wiley.

Garrett, R. H., & Grisham, C. M. (2016). Biochemistry. Cengage Learning.

Branches of Chemistry. Retrieved from https://sciencenotes.org/branches-of-chemistry/

The 5 Main Branches of Chemistry. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-5-branches-of-chemistry-603911

What Are The 5 Main Branches Of Chemistry? – The Stemettes Zine. Retrieved from https://stemettes.org/zine/articles/branches-of-chemistry/ 

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