# How do you improve chemistry?

1. Nov 26, 2003

### PrudensOptimus

How do you improve chemistry? Seems like a bull**** subject to me. and those long ass label conversions,... wasteful.

why do we need chemistry anyways?

2. Nov 26, 2003

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
Why we need chemistry.. funny.. the most important science for the human well being. How do you think food and medicines are made? And all the other luxery products? Clothes?

3. Nov 27, 2003

### ShawnD

Just a few things you would not have without chemistry:

-A working car since you wouldn't have a battery. Today's cars have such high compression that they are almost impossible to crank over by hand.
-A refrigerator
-indoor skating rinks
-very clean water
-potato chips with a good taste
-pop with a good taste
-high crop yeilds
-products made of aluminum. before a method of separating aluminum was found, aluminum was worth more than gold.
-plastics
-epoxy
-glue

I sort of like having clean water and driving a car.

4. Nov 27, 2003

### sven222

Chemistry is the central science.

Love it, and it will love you back

5. Nov 27, 2003

### PrudensOptimus

yea, but I don't see how those balancing fake equations can do any of the above stuff.

6. Nov 27, 2003

### ShawnD

How do you figure they are fake? Batteries actually do work don't they?

7. Nov 27, 2003

### PrudensOptimus

Yes but those "Balance Equations" seem flawd. Seems like a copy of a "non working" equation made out of lots of assumptions and prepredictions... unlike math equations, you can assume just one variable's relationship to another and find lots of info, a balance equation you just "balance" it... soo dead. not fluid enough.

8. Nov 27, 2003

### Mike H

The point of balancing a chemical reaction is to do simply that - determine its stoichiometry. That this enables you to calculate reaction yields, minimize waste and the like is part and parcel of its stoichiometry. It also has the advantage of serving as an accounting mechanism to ensure conservation of mass (especially important where a reactant or product is volatile or gaseous and may not end up as an easily weighed powder or liquid). In order to understand the thermodynamics, kinetics and reaction mechanism you must go elsewhere for answers.

I'm not really sure what you mean by "assumptions and prepredictions" but if you're referring to how you know certain atoms combine in certain proportions or in certain fashions, a good deal of that is well understood chemical behavior.

9. Nov 28, 2003

### rapa-nui

Actually chemistry doesn't let you do anything practical (aside from making a battery) until you start to take ORGANIC CHEMISTRY!

Yes, it's hard. Harder than anything you learn in general chemistry anyway... but much cooler.

Like... you can make nitroglycerin with about 2 months of lecture and lab under your belt. And it's only a few steps to dynamite from there.

Not interested in urban terrorism? Well, you can make ethanol to close to 100% pure levels and get drunk with about a single shot of the stuff.

Wanna have fun? Read the book until you reach polymerization reactions and learn how most plastics are made. You could take it a step further and learn how to synthesize Silly Putty™

For medicine you need knowledge of both Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. The latter is even more painful. You thought memorizing the functional groups was hard? Try memorizing the structure of all 23 amino acids. Or several of the more complex metabolic pathways.

10. Nov 28, 2003

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
Knowing all the inns-and-outs of the citric acid cycle is classic :)

I actually had a 10 for my Metabolism exam, I must have been the first in all history :P it is much dreaded.

11. Nov 28, 2003

### ShawnD

Yeah, organic is awesome. Aside from nitroglycerin, they also teach you how to make trinitrotoluene in the first few months

In highschool, my chemistry class took a trip to university to do a lab. We synthesized asparin . Mine was like 90% pure. They didn't let us keep it though because they thought we would try to sell it on the street or take it to fix a headache.

Most of the stuff in chemistry is fun as long as you understand it. It only gets annoying and stupid when it does't seem to make sense.

12. Dec 1, 2003

### rapa-nui

The effort that when into figuring out how to synthesize aspirin was legendary. My textbook has a boxed section on it... really tough, complex and waaayyyy beyonf my meager chemistry skills.

As for the citric acid cycle (also known as the Krebs cycle right?) ... I've been over it twice now. Once in high school at only suface examination of the process, and my first semester in college, more in-depth. Didn't do too hot... luckily other questions helped my grade on that particular exam... I know my ETC and oxydative phosphorilation pretty well.

13. Dec 1, 2003

### sven222

During first year Molecular Bio, I often woke up in a cold sweat from ETC/OP/Citric nightmares

14. Dec 6, 2003

### Another God

Staff Emeritus
Why would anyone ever need to be Examined on the Citric Acid cycle anyway? Why would we need to know it off by heart? When will you ever need to know that Citrate goes to Isocitrate goes to $\alpha$-Ketogluterate off the top of your head? I didn't need to know it right then, i just found a text book. In a lab, you could probably just look up at a poster...

I hate it how undergrads and High School exam rote memorization rather than understanding of a topic....