Chemists Working in Different Specialties

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Chemistry is a broad field that can lead a person down many different, exciting career paths. For example, as a chemist, you can choose to specialize as an organic chemist, inorganic chemist, physical chemist, and analytical chemist.

In general, chemists study the composition, structure, and properties of substances and the interactions between them. They also continually search for new information about materials and look for ways to put this knowledge to practical use, while applying scientific principles and techniques using specialized instruments to measure, identify, and evaluate changes in matter.

Organic Chemist

Organic chemists study the structure, properties, compositions, reactions, and preparations of various organic compounds. Because organic compounds are structurally diverse, the range of application of organic compounds is enormous. They can act as either a base or an important constituent in many products, such as plastics, drugs, petrochemicals, paints, explosives, and food. Even most earthly life processes contain organic compounds as a basis.

Inorganic Chemist

This field has applications in many aspects of the field of chemistry, such as catalysis, materials science, coatings, medicine, pigments, fuel, surfactants, and agriculture. Inorganic chemists can be employed in diverse fields, such as environmental science, education, and mining and microchip industries. Inorganic chemists must understand the behavior, and how these materials can be altered, separated, or re-used in product applications. The main focus of an inorganic chemist is properties at a molecular level, regardless of where he/she works.

Physical Chemist

Physical chemistry is defined as the study of macroscopic, subatomic, atomic, and particulate phenomena in chemical systems in terms of physical concepts and laws. Essentially it merges the principles and concepts of physics, such as force, energy, motion, and thermodynamics to the field of chemistry. Some of the concepts that physical chemistry explores are intermolecular forces on the physical properties of materials, the identity of ions on the electrical conductivity of materials, reaction kinetics on the rate of a reaction, and surface chemistry and electrochemistry of membranes.

Analytical Chemist

Analytical chemists examine the identification, separation, and quantification of the chemical components of natural and artificial materials. They also classify the presence of chemical pollutants in the air, water, and soil. Analytical chemistry also focuses on the improvement of experimental design, chemometrics, and the creation of new measurement tools to provide more accurate chemical data. This specialization has applications in bio-analysis, forensics, clinical analysis, materials analysis, and environmental analysis.

If you are interested in pursuing a degree in chemistry, consider specializing in organic, inorganic, physical, or analytical chemistry, depending on which aspect of chemistry you are most interested in. If none of these appeal to you, explore other options relating to chemistry until you find which career suits you best.
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