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Why Learn Chemistry?
       Good health and comforts of everyday life depend on stuff we consume. The stuff in our bodies and the surrounding environment are broadly divided into matter and energy. Matter is a common name for chemicals. Our life and lifestyle depend primarily on the chemicals we breathe, drink, eat and use. Energy is derived from matter. Even our senses, pleasures, aches and pains are based entirely on chemicals and energy.
       Chemistry is the study of matter and how it reacts. That means that almost everything around us is a part of chemistry. The clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the fuel we use, the homes we live in and all other physical things are chemicals and therefore come under the domain of chemistry. Understanding the properties of these substances and what affects them is important, but many people survive without knowing or understanding chemistry.
       Chemistry is also different from many other precollege science courses in two specific ways. The first is that it is a cumulative course. What is taught in the beginning of the course is used throughout the year. This means that learning chemistry requires retention. One cannot merely learn the material for a test and then erase those memories as the next unit is taken up. In addition, math and problem solving is an integral part of the course. This means that the concepts learned in math classes is being applied throughout the year.
       No one says you have to be a chemist, but a basic understanding of chemistry may lead to a healthier and more informed society. Arts, music, songs, dance, literature and sports are sources of great pleasure to many of us, but none is as essential for survival as common sense chemistry. A better way to raise future generations concerned about the misuse, but not paranoid about the dangers of chemicals in our society is to introduce them to the basics of chemistry.
       You dont have to play baseball to enjoy the World Series nor do you have to play football to enjoy the Super Bowl. However, an understanding of the rules is essential to relish any game. Similarly, neither do you have to play an instrument to enjoy a concert. Learning chemistry enables you to make choices that can lead to a better quality of life. This is actually just as important as mastering the three Rs or computer literacy in our highly technological world.
       Finally, if taught properly, chemistry can help you learn how to learn. It lets you see how things fit together. It strengthens reading and writing skills and lets you see how you can make rational choices in life. It embellishes your understanding of the world that surrounds you and lets you view those factors in a quantitative manner. All these skills can be applied in whatever path you choose to follow, thereby improving your chance of leading a happy and successful life!
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