Chemistry is a branch of physical science that studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter. Chemistry is chiefly concerned with atoms and molecules and their interactions and transformations, for example, the properties of the chemical bonds formed between atoms to create chemical compounds. As such, chemistry studies the involvement of electrons and various forms of energy in photochemical reactions, oxidation-reduction reactions, changes in phases of matter, and separation of mixtures. Preparation and properties of complex substances, such as alloys, polymers, biological molecules, and pharmaceutical agents are considered in specialized fields of chemistry.

Chemistry is sometimes called the central science because it bridges other natural sciences like physics, geology and biology. Chemistry is a branch of physical science but distinct from physics.

The etymology of the word chemistry has been much disputed. The history of chemistry can be traced to certain practices, known as alchemy, which had been practiced for several millennia in various parts of the world.

The word chemistry comes from the word alchemy, an earlier set of practices that encompassed elements of chemistry, metallurgy, philosophy, astrology, astronomy, mysticism and medicine; it is commonly thought of as the quest to turn lead or another common starting material into gold. Alchemy, which was practiced around 330, is the study of the composition of waters, movement, growth, embodying, disembodying, drawing the spirits from bodies and bonding the spirits within bodies (Zosimos). An alchemist was called a ‘chemist’ in popular speech, and later the suffix “-ry” was added to this to describe the art of the chemist as “chemistry”.

The word alchemy in turn is derived from the Arabic word al-kīmīā (الکیمیاء). In origin, the term is borrowed from the Greek χημία or χημεία. This may have Egyptian origins. Many believe that al-kīmīā is derived from the Greek χημία, which is in turn derived from the word Chemi or Kimi, which is the ancient name of Egypt in Egyptian. Alternately, al-kīmīā may be derived from χημεία, meaning “cast together”.

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