Chemistry is a branch of physical science that studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=What is Chemistry? )〕〔(Chemistry ). (n.d.). Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Retrieved August 19, 2007.〕 Chemistry deals with such topics as the properties of individual atoms, how atoms form chemical bonds to create chemical compounds, the interactions of substances through intermolecular forces that give matter its general properties, and the interactions between substances through chemical reactions to form different substances.
Chemistry is sometimes called the central science because it bridges other natural sciences, including physics, geology and biology.〔Theodore L. Brown, H. Eugene Lemay, Bruce Edward Bursten, H. Lemay. ''Chemistry: The Central Science''. Prentice Hall; 8 edition (1999). ISBN 0-13-010310-1. Pages 3–4.〕〔Chemistry occupies an intermediate position in a hierarchy of the sciences by reductive level between physics and biology. Carsten Reinhardt. ''Chemical Sciences in the 20th Century: Bridging Boundaries''. Wiley-VCH, 2001. ISBN 3-527-30271-9. Pages 1–2.〕 For the differences between chemistry and physics see Comparison of chemistry and physics.
Scholars disagree about the etymology of the word ''chemistry''. The history of chemistry can be traced to alchemy, which had been practiced for several millennia in various parts of the world.
The word ''chemistry'' comes from the word ''alchemy'', an earlier set of practices that encompassed elements of chemistry, metallurgy, philosophy, astrology, astronomy, mysticism and medicine; it is commonly thought of as the quest to turn lead or another common starting material into gold.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=History of Alchemy )〕 Alchemy, which was practiced around 330, is the study of the composition of waters, movement, growth, embodying, disembodying, drawing the spirits from bodies and bonding the spirits within bodies (Zosimos).〔Strathern, P. (2000). ''Mendeleyev's Dream – the Quest for the Elements.'' New York: Berkley Books.〕 An alchemist was called a 'chemist' in popular speech, and later the suffix "-ry" was added to this to describe the art of the chemist as "chemistry".
The word ''alchemy'' in turn is derived from the Arabic word ''al-kīmīā'' (الکیمیاء). In origin, the term is borrowed from the Greek χημία or χημεία.〔"alchemy", entry in ''The Oxford English Dictionary'', J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner, vol. 1, 2nd ed., 1989, ISBN 0-19-861213-3.〕〔p. 854, "Arabic alchemy", Georges C. Anawati, pp. 853–885 in ''Encyclopedia of the history of Arabic science'', eds. Roshdi Rashed and Régis Morelon, London: Routledge, 1996, vol. 3, ISBN 0-415-12412-3.〕 This may have Egyptian origins since ''al-kīmīā'' is derived from the Greek χημία, which is in turn derived from the word Chemi or Kimi, which is the ancient name of Egypt in Egyptian.〔 Alternately, ''al-kīmīā'' may derive from χημεία, meaning "cast together".〔Weekley, Ernest (1967). Etymological Dictionary of Modern English. New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-21873-2〕
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