Before Galileo’s time, Aristotle was the god of gravity.
Seriously. Before Galileo came along, the question of how gravity worked was answered with another question: “What would Aristotle say?” Obviously, this method was faulty, since Aristotle was actually wrong about most scientific things he wrote about.
But Galileo began a tradition that would persist into the modern day. He’s credited for having performed the first true science experiments when he observed falling objects.
You could, of course, call Tycho Brahe’s night sky observations and Kepler’s correct application of mathematics to the heavens true science, but neither of them really performed experimental science. That distinction lies with Galileo.
Wait a second…so I thought Isaac Newton was the guy who discovered gravity? Continue reading
This is the periodic table, and it’s pretty much the most important table in all of chemistry.
All the little boxes on this “table” are elements, the simplest form of matter. You literally can’t break these down further. What’s the difference between an element and a substance, you ask?
Okay, well, think of it this way. In my post on matter and its forms, I used water as an example of a substance. Water has its own physical and chemical properties, it’s not a mixture of anything, and no matter how many times you divide it up, you’ll still have the same thing.
But water can be divided up into different things chemically. Continue reading
The easiest way to explain mixtures in chemistry is to talk about food.
Think about mixtures in terms of cooking, and there isn’t much I need to tell you. A salad, like the one pictured above, is a mixture. So is chicken noodle soup. So is…hmm, so is lemonade.
I told you we’d be talking about lemonade soon.
Even air is a mixture—of different gases. Believe it or not, we don’t just breathe in oxygen. In fact, if we breathed in pure oxygen, it would be poisonous. We inhale a little bit of nitrogen, too.
A mixture is—by textbook definition—a physical blend of two or more substances. Continue reading
The simplest approach to chemistry is to start basic.
Not basic as in acids and bases, ha-ha…sorry, bad chemistry joke.
I mean basic as in, what the heck even is chemistry?
I admit that I’m better versed in astronomy than chemistry. I’ve studied chemistry for exactly one year of my life—last year, 12th grade. Astronomy, on the other hand, has been my strong suit and my passion for several years.
For me, these Wednesday posts are like a refresher course. I don’t actually remember everything I’ve learned. Good thing I bought a copy of the textbook.
So, I’ll start simple—because chemistry is the study of breaking complex things down to the simplest bits possible. It’s the opposite of astronomy. Astronomy studies huge, mind-blowing phenomena. Chemistry, on the other hand…is mind-blowingly small.
It’s the study of matter. Continue reading