Chemistry is a well-structured science based on historical discoveries developed with the help of mathematics and physics. Pertaining to the composition, structure, properties, interactions, and transformations of matter, chemistry is divided into two major subdivisions: organic and inorganic. Organic chemistry concerns itself with only those compounds that contain carbon—basically living matter while inorganic chemistry is concerned with all of the other elements. These two areas form the basis for all research in the chemical field. Chemists, however, may be physical or analytical chemists or biochemists. Physical chemistry is the marriage of chemistry and physics—the study of the chemical phenomena in solid, liquid, or gaseous states. Analytical chemistry covers the qualitative analysis of chemicals in terms of description of elements, compounds, and structural units, and it is also concerned with the quantitative analysis in terms of measurement of amounts of elements, compounds, or structural units. Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes of all living organisms.
Research in chemistry is massive. This literature is indexed by the world’s largest English language service, Chemical Abstracts. There are many handbooks covering all aspects of chemical research, and dictionaries are standard resources, especially those that list the thousands of known compounds with detailed descriptions.