c h e m i s t r y
Organic chemistry deals with all matter that is
now living or was alive at one time. This is the
study of matter containing carbon, which is
present in all plants and animals.
Inorganic chemistry deals with matter that was
never living and does not contain carbon.
Classifications of Matter
Matter is anything that occupies space. You
can see matter everywhere. Every part of your
body is matter. Drops of rain are matter, the
page you are reading is matter, even the
air you breathe is matter (though it is invisible,
air is composed of oxygen and other atoms,
which have dimension and take up space). All
these things occupy space and therefore are
defined as matter.
Matter can be identified by its physical properties,
and exists in three distinct forms:
Solids--Matter with definite weight, volume
For example, human skin is a solid because
it has definite weight, volume and shape.
Liquids--Matter with definite weight and
volume, but no shape.
Lotions are liquids--they have definite weight
and volume, but no definite shape. As you have
probably observed, liquids take the shape of the
container into which they are poured--in the
case of skin care products, usually a bottle.
Gases--Matter with definite weight, but
indefinite volume and shape.
Air, the most common gas, has definite
weight (although it might not seem obvious),
but no definite volume or shape.
The Father of Modern Chemistry
When Antoine Laurent Lavoisier was arrested
during the French revolution, he asked soldiers
to hold off his execution so he could complete
his scientific work. The answer was "no," but
Lavoisier had already discovered many
important scientific principles.
Lavoisier proved that oxygen played the major
role in weight differences associated with
combustion. He is also credited with showing
that oxygen is consumed and carbon dioxide
is given off.
His experiments with respiration and
combustion, which reveal the true nature of
chemistry, earned him the title, "The Father of