What are the chemical sciences?
The chemical sciences cover both chemistry in its traditional form, but also chemistry that falls within other disciplines of science.
Chemistry is the science of matter at the atomic to molecular scale and underpins virtually all other aspects of science.
Chemistry controls the tastes and flavours of the food we eat, the scents we wear, the look and feel of our clothes and how the world appears around us.
Chemical behaviour and the interaction of elements and molecules gives us the energy we need to heat our homes, to drive our cars and to power our lives.
This chemical behaviour governs the distribution of the natural resources that we need and industrial processes required to extract them. In turn we rely on chemistry to turn them into products we rely on every day.
At the RSC, we are committed to highlighting the importance of the chemical sciences to the public, to government and to industry. As, without a thriving chemical science base we will be unable to solve many of the challenges we face in the 21st century.
Biological sciences and chemistry
Biological science involves studying the science of life. However, chemistry is important to a variety of sub-disciplines. These can include health science, the discipline of applied science that deals with human and animal health, looking at the how the body functions and using this knowledge to improve health and cure diseases. The study of pharmacology, determining how substances (typically pharmaceuticals) interact with living organisms to produce a change in function. Biochemistry, the study of the chemical substances and vital processes occurring in living organisms, studying biomolecules such as proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. Molecular biology, looking at biology at the molecular level, analysing the processes that control cells, including replication, transcription and translation of genetic material within cells. This discipline also includes biotechnology, the use of biological systems to modify or derive new products, typically drugs or foodstuffs.
Materials chemistry is an interdisciplinary field looking at materials and their interaction with the environment. It is the chemistry of the design, synthesis and characterisation of assemblies of molecules whose properties arise from how they interact with each other. Materials chemistry involves elements of applied chemistry and physics, as well as chemical, mechanical, civil and electrical engineering. This area also includes nano-technology and nano-science and their application to science across the board.
Environmental science is the study of the interactions between the physical, chemical and biological elements of the environment. For chemists, this applies to understanding the interactions on a molecular scale. This can involve aspects of climate change, conservation, biodiversity, groundwater and soil contamination, use of natural resources, waste management, air pollution and noise pollution.