Organic chemistry is one of five main types of chemistry, with others including analytical, physical, inorganic, and biochemistry. But what is the study of organic chemistry?
In organic chemistry, chemists create, explore, and develop new compounds. It’s a highly creative science, allowing us to find new compounds and better ways to synthesize current compounds.
Finding new ways to synthesize compounds reduces the required input (this is usually done by finding a quicker, simpler way reaction for the same results). Also, discovering new compounds allows us to better understand the world around us.
But this type of chemistry is so much more than basic molecule and compound exploration and discovery. So, this blog post will discuss more on organic chemistry, including what it is, what organic chemists do, the difference between inorganic chemistry, and more.
What is organic chemistry?
As previously mentioned, organic chemistry is the study of primarily carbon-contained compounds such as CO2 and methane. But it also involves other elements from time to time, including oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur.
This type of chemistry is involved in many, many industries. For example, chemists work to produce fuel, oil, and gasoline (petroleum products). Other chemists are more medical-based, creating and testing new prescription drugs, and others produce soaps, plastic goods, and perfumes.
You name it, and it’s probably a result of chemistry.
As you can see, the uses of organic chemistry are several. It’s a necessary science used daily, from the gas you put into your car to the soap and skincare products you use first thing in the morning. It’s all around us, a key aspect of everyday life.
Other examples of real-life organic chemistry include plastics, dyes, food additives (seasoning and taste), natural gas, detergent, and others.
What is inorganic chemistry?
Unlike organic chemistry, which focuses on organic compounds (and carbon-contained compounds), inorganic chemistry focuses on inorganic compounds.
For example, this includes the study of the properties and behavior of metals, organometallic compounds, minerals, and others.
Both branches of chemistry are popular, but organic chemistry seems to receive more attention. After all, it plays a key role in day-to-day life.
Many people who study chemistry find organic to be more difficult, but both fields have their own challenges.
Is organic chemistry difficult?
If you’re thinking of studying chemistry, then naturally, you have to select a kind to specialize in. Or at least you will have to at some point.
Organic chemistry is one of the harder science subjects; there’s no doubt about it. However, it is a rewarding career, and if you have the passion, it can take you to great places and open up many doors across numerous industries.
But to summarise: it is a very difficult subject and field to specialize in. If you have the passion, though, it can be super rewarding.
What is the day-to-day role of an organic chemist?
Many chemists choose to go into teaching, passing on the knowledge they have learned to the next generation.
For those that don’t go into teaching, a typical day likely includes laboratory work and plenty of research into the structure, properties, and reactions of certain molecules.
For example, if a chemist works for a beauty company, then they’ll be creating new scents for perfumes (that are safe). If employed by a fuel company, chemists could spend a large part of their day researching new, cleaner fuel alternatives and better extraction methods.
As you can see, the day-to-day varies depending on the industry. However, typically, the role is research-intensive and hands-on.
Related: What is the application of chemistry in daily life?
The study of organic chemistry is the study of carbon-contained compounds (and other organic compounds). There are many branches of organic chemistry and different lines of work, for example, being involved in the production of petroleum, household products, pharmaceuticals, and other essentials.
The better we understand and the more we study chemistry, the more we understand the world around us and everything in it.
So, to say it’s important is an understatement. Next time you use a bar of soap, put fuel in your car, or apply weed killer to your lawn, just think: that’s a product of chemistry.