I remember as a kid being very bored in chemistry class. A few experiments here and there and a mountain of equations somehow could not compel me to curiosity for molecules and chemical reactions. How unfortunate. The worst part is that my boredom was almost entirely a function of poor teaching. The standard textbooks and approach in the classroom virtually insure that most students will find the subject drab and uninspiring. It goes without saying that most students will also see chemistry as largely irrelevant to everyday life.
Chemistry is not only fascinating to study and practice but important as well. It is a window into the foundations of biology and physics and can provide insights both practical and interesting.
Foundations: At the core of both biology and physics is chemistry since this science addresses how molecules interact and connect with each other. Any understanding of how things work in the world, both organic and inorganic eventually comes down to chemistry. Of course, this begs the question, why should anyone care about understanding how things work in the world at all?
Health: One reason to care about understanding is that it is good for our health. What we eat, how it is cooked, and how it is digested are all functions of chemistry and understanding the chemistry involved is an important step towards taking charge of one’s own health.
Connections: Chemistry is about how molecules connect and interact but can chemistry give us any insight into our human and social connections? Perhaps. Often in chemical reactions the result is much different in composition than the original inputs. Dangerous elements can mix to create beneficial molecules; salt is a good example of this. Unexpected results are a part of connections in life as well. Benefits come from such connections all of the time.
There are so many practical benefits to the study of chemistry it is hard to provide a broad overview in such a short space. But, if you think about it nearly every part of your life is related in some way to chemistry. What you wear, eat, drive, where you live, the air you breathe, what medicines you take. All of these areas of your life where you have to make decisions would be enhanced by some working knowledge of chemistry. So, take a look around and see how your life is touched by chemistry and begin to study these areas on a molecular level. You never know what you might learn and what connections you might make!