All the matter we know is composed of atoms. These atoms relate to each other, forming interactions of greater or lesser force, giving rise to molecules. Chemistry is the science that studies the relationships and characteristics of matter, the chemical compounds that make up our reality.

Thanks to advances in chemistry, our world has made immense strides in transport, agriculture, gastronomy, industry… It is a science that has given much to humanity, thanks to the chemical researchers who dedicated their lives to these fascinating fields of study.

If you’ve ever wondered exactly what chemistry studies, don’t be afraid.. After discovering some of its main branches you will surely know better this incredible science.

The main branches of chemistry

Chemistry, like many other sciences, has several subdivisions and specializations that allow it to encompass a wider range of knowledge about the world. The knowledge they generate is often of great use to the rest of the scientific community, both outside and within the chemical field.

Some of these chemical branches are as follows.

1. Organic Chemistry

The branch of organic chemistry is sometimes referred to as “carbon chemistry”, as it studies chemical processes similar to thethat occur in naturewhere carbon is one of the predominant atoms in the reactions and molecules of living beings.

Without organic chemistry we would not have the current dominance over long chain petrochemicals, from which we created fuels, cosmetics, medication and, of course, plastics..

2. Inorganic Chemistry

Inorganic chemistry takes care of study compounds not covered by organic chemistryThose that are not characterized by carbon and hydrogen bonds.

It is a branch of chemistry with wide application, which includes many specializations within it, both theoretical and practical. For example, it is of enormous importance to science in general, since many of the compounds needed for experimentation do not occur naturally.

3. Physical Chemistry

Physical chemistry (other than chemical physics) is a branch of the field of chemistry that emphasizes the physical characteristics that occur during chemical reactions. He has strong support in physics and has given rise to disciplines such as thermochemistry, electrochemistry or chemical kineticsdisciplines focused on specific physical characteristics produced during reactions.

4. Analytical Chemistry

Analytical chemistry analyzes matter, separating, identifying and quantifying its components. Today it focuses on instrumental analysis of the different components, so that many analytical chemists specialize in the use of one or a few instrumental methods of analysis.

Biology, for example, is a science that has benefited greatly from advances in analytical chemistry, which makes use of separation technology such as chromatographybut also gave rise to the emergence of fluorescence microscopy, among many other advances.

5. Biochemistry

Biochemistry is a differentiated branch of organic chemistry, since is closer to the field of biology.. Biochemistry studies the molecules produced in living organisms from a biological point of view, trying to explain some of the processes carried out within the biological systems themselves.

Biochemistry could also be considered another branch of biology, a scientific family with which it maintains a high level of contact and collaboration. Cellular and molecular biology, pharmacology, agriculture and nutrition are some of the fields that require the knowledge generated by biochemistry during their research.

Branches of Chemistry - Slate
  • Other important branches of chemistry include:

6. Astrochemistry

Astrochemistry is a space science.which is in charge of studying the composition and reactions of the chemical elements observed in the different celestial bodies. The study of stars, as well as the interaction between different types of ration and matter are important objects of study in this field of chemistry.

7. Theoretical Chemistry

The different theoretical branches of chemistry are grouped into the family of theoretical chemistry. This field of study try to establish theories and general rules for the functioning of matter and chemical reactions, useful for the development of the rest of the field sciences.

Among the different branches of theoretical chemistry we would find quantum chemistry, computational chemistry, molecular modeling, mathematical chemistry or the study of molecular dynamics. Lately the field of theoretical chemistry is dominated by quantum chemistry and computational chemistry.

8. Solid State Chemistry

Solid state chemistry, as its name suggests, studies the chemical reactions that occur when bodies are in a solid state, where it is more complicated for molecules to interact dynamically. Today this branch of chemistry se focuses on obtaining new materials.

9. Medical Chemistry

Medical chemistry is that which focuses its research efforts on finding solutions to problems that occur in the health field. It has a lot to do with the pharmacological study. and the development of new drugs, as well as the evaluation of existing drugs and the discovery of possible interactions between them.

10. Green Chemistry

Green chemistry is the greenest branch of chemistry. The chemical industry is characterized by producing an enormous amount of pollutants and spending many ecological resources. Given this reality, green chemistry is the science that is responsible for minimizing the environmental impact of different chemical processes, through products such as biodegradable plastics or the replacement of toxic elements by less harmful ones.

11. Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is the branch applied to industry within chemistry. More than the study of chemical reactions, chemical engineers are those who are responsible for devising a suitable industrial operation to make a specific product.

The demands of certain chemical reactions at energy level, as well as the dangerousness and characteristics of some of its products make chemical engineering a real puzzle where the safety and economic viability of the project are the priority.

Bibliographic references

  • layden, J.; Greeves, N. and Warren, S. (2012) Organic Chemistry. Oxford University Press. pp. 1-15. ISBN 0-19-927029-5.
  • Clark, J. H.; Luque, R.; Matharu, A. S. (2012). “Green Chemistry, Biofuels, and Biorefinery.” Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. 3: 183-207. doi:10.1146/annurev-chembioeng-062011-081014. PMID 22468603.