“There is no true understanding of Biology without Chemistry. And there’s no true understanding of Chemistry without Physics.”- Neil deGrasse Tyson, a renowned American astrophysicist.
To understand how the different branches of Science link up, we shall look at what ‘Science’ actually means. It is defined as the systematic knowledge of the physical or material world acquired through observation and experimentation. To understand one branch of Science, basic knowledge of the other branches proves beneficial. Thus, it is common for many Chemistry tutors to have some background experience with the other branches of Science, be it at Junior College or University, as this truly allows them to deliver effective Chemistry tuition.
How do the Sciences link up?
Chemistry and Biology
It may sound peculiar to an individual on how you cannot truly understand Biology without Chemistry. But does this not make sense as you realise that despite Medicine focusing on the study of human-beings, Chemistry is a pre-requisite subject and not biology. This is as biological processes depend on the interaction of atoms, molecules and compounds that form living tissues and the environment in which life occurs.
Let us take respiration, a more commonly known biological process, as an example to understand the linkage of Chemistry and Biology. Respiration, in biological terms, involves converting glucose and oxygen molecules into ATP, to release energy. But how do these reactions occur? How do they continuously occur in our body? To comprehend the reactions, existing knowledge of Chemistry is essential. Water is the hydrogen donor in the energy exchanges that take place in cellular respiration. The hydroxide and hydrogen molecular bonds of water act as both an acid and a base by providing hydrogen and hydroxide ions for an infinite number of chemical reactions occurring at the cellular level. While these interlink concepts are very much interesting, they often are not taught as part of the school’s curriculum. As such, many students have resorted to external classes such as Chemistry tuition, where many Chemistry tutors have the expertise in the interlinkages of the Sciences. These Chemistry tutors can ensure that their students truly understand the workings of the material world through effective Chemistry tuition.
Chemistry and Physics
One may wonder how is it that we cannot truly understand Chemistry without Physics. While both branches of Science concern the study of matter, the study of Chemistry relates to the study of chemical properties of matter and the study of Physics relates to the physical study of matter.
Let us look at an example on the interlink between the two branches of Science. Basic concepts of Chemistry are derived from the Periodic Table, that was created to better understand chemical elements. An interesting fact is that it is Physics that stipulates how electrons are situated in the orbital shells. The orbitals are described by a mathematical equation, known as the Schrödinger equation. We may already know that electrons are filled in orbitals of lower energy levels first, but why is this so? A fundamental principle of Physics depicts that energy must be minimized, which indicates that the lowest-energy electron shells are filled first. Such links are also rarely taught as part of the academic curriculum in schools due to the limited contact hours. As such, many students have taken their initiatives to do extra reading outside of class and some even resort to Chemistry tuition, where Chemistry tutors have the relevant expertise and experience to explain such interlinks. While it may not appear as a necessary concept, it is beneficial to learn these as it allows for a full understanding of the content at hand and so many Chemistry tutors take out time to emphasize these concepts in Chemistry tuition.
This article explains some basic interlinks of the three main branches of Science, when in fact many more such links exist. Such knowledge allows for a comprehensive study of the material world, and to appreciate the subject.
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