While Chemistry is the science of matter, chemists can transform matter into new materials. It is only through the wonder of chemical work that a poisonous substance is converted into fuel, a substance becomes delicious, or pungent odour is replaced with a fragrant one.
Growth of Chemistry
Chemistry is the most productive science and researchers produce more research papers than all other natural and social sciences put together. While there were only a few hundred chemicals earlier, today we have more than 30 million known chemicals. This number is expected to reach 300 million by 2050. It has led to an exponential growth of chemistry. Due to this unprecedented growth, there has been an emergence of many new sub-disciplines in Chemistry, including Chem-Informatics, Green Chemistry Combinatorial Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry, Phytochemistry, Food Chemistry etc.
Chemistry is often referred to as the central science because an understanding of Chemistry is necessary to study anything from Astronomy to Zoology. It overlaps with Biology and Medicine, Physics, Engineering, Geology and Earth Science. Thus, while it might be unusual for someone to take a degree in Geology and then follow a career in Biology, it is commonplace for chemistry graduates to move into any other area of science.
If interested in Chemistry after 10+2, you can join either the BSc (Hons) Chemistry or BSc (Physical Sciences) or BSc (Life Sciences) programme. With a bachelor’s degree with Chemistry, a student can go for master’s and later do a PhD. At the master’s level, you may specialise in any branch of your choice including Physical, Inorganic, Organic, Analytical or Biochemistry etc. BTech (Chemical Engineering) is yet another related field for Chemistry students. Many students opt for Chemistry as one of the main subjects in the Civil Services examination.
Tips that work
Develop strong reading habits, attend all the lectures and carefully conduct the experiments in the lab. Taking notes help go a long way because one can clear the doubts and understand most of the concepts while noting down the important points given by the lecturer. Try to understand the concept behind each experiment. Follow one standard textbook and understand the periodic table to understand chemical properties. Use flow charts, and diagrams to understand the principle behind it. Foster your own scientific curiosity to increase the holistic understanding of Chemistry. Revision of what you have learnt throughout the year is a must.
(The author is former Chemistry professor of Delhi University and VC of PDM University, Bahadurgarh)