How do we teach chemistry as a different science from physics? This paper looks into a fundamental distinguishing property of chemistry as a science. It is characterized in this paper that chemistry, unlike many other sciences that are largely descriptive, is primarily creative. In this sense, the various fields of chemistry may seek to create as an end goal, and not merely to create as a means to an end as commonly seen in allied sciences. This distinction is important as it elevates the importance of chemical synthesis above being a small detail of the field. I argue in this paper that synthesis is a largely defining character of chemistry as a structured science, and must be given importance to when attempting to define chemistry as a separate study from similar fields. Awareness of the importance of synthesis can elucidate on the manner and trends of normal chemical research as well as predict possible circumstances that will arise for the field of chemistry.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Ball, P.: Chemistry: why synthesize? Nature 528, 327–329 (2015)
Eberhard, M.E., Jones, T.E.: The two faces of chemistry: can they be reconciled? Found. Chem. 15(3), 277–285 (2013)
Freundlich, H.: Kapillarchemie, eine Darstellung der Chemie der Kolloide und verwandter Gebiete. Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Leipzig (1909)
Hendry, R.F.: Is there downward causation in chemistry? Philosophy of chemistry. Springer, Dordrecht (2006)
Karol, P.J., Barber, R.C., Sherrill, B.M., Vardaci, E., Yamazaki, T.: Discovery of the elements with atomic numbers Z = 113, 115 and 117 (IUPAC technical report). Pure Appl. Chem. 88, 139–153 (2016a)
Karol, P.J., Barber, R.C., Sherrill, B.M., Vardaci, E., Yamazaki, T.: Discovery of the element with atomic number Z = 118 completing the 7th row of the periodic table (IUPAC technical report). Pure Appl. Chem. 88, 155–160 (2016b)
Löwdin, P.-O.: Present situation of quantum chemistry. J. Phys. Chem. 61, 55–68 (1957)
Müürsepp, P.: Chemistry as a practical science (Edward Caldin revisited). Found. Chem. 18(3), 213–223 (2016)
Scerri, E.R.: Explaining the periodic table, and the role of chemical triads. Found. Chem. 12, 69–83 (2010)
Scerri, E.R.: Top down causation regarding the chemistry–physics interface—a skeptical view. Interface Focus 2, 20–25 (2012)
Scerri, E.R.: Philosophy of chemistry: where has it been and where is it going? In: Llored, J.P. (ed.), Chemistry the Neglected Science. Cambridge Scholars Press, Newcastle upon Tyne (2013)
Szabadvary, F.: History of Analytical Chemistry (Svehla, G., Trans.). Pergamon Press, Oxford (1966)
Vysokomol. soyed.: Current Trends in Polymer Science, vol. A32(9), pp. 1795–1810 (Crozy, A., Trans., 1991). Pergamon Press, Oxford (1990)
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Dolino, L.G.O. Chemistry as a creative science. Found Chem 20, 3–13 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10698-017-9272-9
- Nature of chemistry