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The difference between chemistry and physics


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#1 anotherfilthyape

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:34 PM

it's nuclear chemistry. although thats really more physics than chemistry.


I would call it applied chemistry or inorganic chemistry more than physics because there is no study in the physical behaviour of the matter but on the composition of the matter...
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#2 mississippichem

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:51 PM

I would call it applied chemistry or inorganic chemistry more than physics because there is no study in the physical behaviour of the matter but on the composition of the matter...


Usually chemical reactions involve the transfer of electrons, bond breaking/forming or spatial rearranging of molecules . It's just a categorization though, and an arbitrary one at that.

You could always argue that changing elements in a metal lattice will change the properties of the solid. That is indeed a chemical matter.

Edited by mississippichem, 12 May 2012 - 07:53 PM.

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#3 mathematic

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 10:12 PM

This is purely physics. It is changing one nucleus into another nucleus, usually by bombarding with other particles such as protons. For creating transuranium elements, heavy nuclides are smashed together.
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#4 anotherfilthyape

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 06:37 AM

Usually chemical reactions involve the transfer of electrons, bond breaking/forming or spatial rearranging of molecules . It's just a categorization though, and an arbitrary one at that.

You could always argue that changing elements in a metal lattice will change the properties of the solid. That is indeed a chemical matter.


This is purely physics. It is changing one nucleus into another nucleus, usually by bombarding with other particles such as protons. For creating transuranium elements, heavy nuclides are smashed together.


Ok... Dont we recognize that biophysics is neither physics nor biology and biochemistry is neither chemistry nor biology and agree that that this neither chemistry nor physics but something in between?
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#5 John Cuthber

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 09:20 AM

If it's chemistry, can someone please tell me what the reagent is and where I can buy some?
Seriously, mucking about with the electrons is chemistry. Fiddling with the nuclei is physics.
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#6 anotherfilthyape

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:05 PM

If it's chemistry, can someone please tell me what the reagent is and where I can buy some?
Seriously, mucking about with the electrons is chemistry. Fiddling with the nuclei is physics.


you find that difference valid? I would take that physics is all about studying the behavour of forces and energies and chemistry is about the study of composition, your difference seems to be a split between subatomical and supra-atomical... which I do not see as a difference between physics and chemistry...
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#7 mississippichem

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:07 PM

anotherfilthyape,

The difference in theory and techniques used make it a very valid difference.
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#8 anotherfilthyape

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:11 AM

[modtip] You're all welcome to create a new topic on the differences between physics and chemistry, etc. In this thread, however, the topic is creating gold from iron. [/modtip]


I dont know where such a thread would go... I am just asking where should this thread go...


anotherfilthyape,

The difference in theory and techniques used make it a very valid difference.


Good answer, I would however consider it valid if I thought that physicists could be good physicists while not knowing much chemistry or if I thought that chemists could be good chemists while not knowing good physics... Also... what does that implies to the subject of states of matter? Is it physics or is it chemistry? It involves pressure but it also involves the behaviour of matter... See, I dont see a strong distinction between physics and chemistry, I see the distinction but I dont see it is very strong.


Edited by anotherfilthyape, 14 May 2012 - 03:17 AM.

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#9 ajb

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 08:03 AM

What is the difference between nuclear chemistry and nuclear physics? I suspect it is just the departments of the participants.

Who was it that said something like "chemistry is just the study of particular solutions of the Schrödinger equation?"
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#10 swansont

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 09:19 AM

If it's chemistry, can someone please tell me what the reagent is and where I can buy some?
Seriously, mucking about with the electrons is chemistry. Fiddling with the nuclei is physics.


Mucking about with the electrons in molecules is chemistry. Mucking about with the electrons in atoms is physics. I think the dividing line, fuzzy though it is, happens when you form or break bonds between atoms.

You could always argue that changing elements in a metal lattice will change the properties of the solid. That is indeed a chemical matter.


But you also have solid state physics.
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#11 CaptainPanic

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 09:27 AM

Can I just say that there is a HUGE grey area between chemistry and physics? Especially when you're going to do something practical with it. In chemistry, you have a reaction, but physics describes how mixing works. But if you mix, you influence the chemistry. Trying to define the exact boundary is not just silly, it's also pointless. I mean, who cares?

If you want to pull this idea off (and make it economically interesting), you're gonna need a chemist and a physicist. The physicist needs to fiddle with the nucleus of that iron (if that works at all)... but then the chemist needs to purify that gold. And they'd better cooperate and understand each other's work.
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#12 mississippichem

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 04:01 PM

Mucking about with the electrons in molecules is chemistry. Mucking about with the electrons in atoms is physics. I think the dividing line, fuzzy though it is, happens when you form or break bonds between atoms.


I can get behind that.
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#13 John Cuthber

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:44 PM

OK, so the reaction between a potassium atom and a chlorine atom (in the gas phase) is physics?

( the reaction kinetics indicate that the mechanism is the transfer of an electron to form two ions, followed by combination of the ions.)
And I think the good Captain, has distinguished science from technology or engineering as much as he has split chemistry from physics.
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#14 swansont

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 07:56 PM

OK, so the reaction between a potassium atom and a chlorine atom (in the gas phase) is physics?

( the reaction kinetics indicate that the mechanism is the transfer of an electron to form two ions, followed by combination of the ions.)
And I think the good Captain, has distinguished science from technology or engineering as much as he has split chemistry from physics.


Forming the ion is more physics, while forming the molecule is more chemistry. But the boundary is fuzzy, as I said — it depends on the emphasis of the investigation.
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#15 John Cuthber

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 08:06 PM

What's the difference between the formation of the two ions and the formation of a highly excited state of the molecule.

The real difference between nuclear reactions and chemical reactions is the energy involved.
If you measure a few eV it's chemistry. If you measure KeV or MeV it's physics.

(Unless you are talking about the energies of epithermal neutrons: bugger! But I guess they are not reacting- just wandering about)
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#16 Bill Angel

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:23 AM

Forming the ion is more physics, while forming the molecule is more chemistry. But the boundary is fuzzy, as I said — it depends on the emphasis of the investigation.

The domain of chemistry is non-relativistic solutions of the Schrodinger equation. And as a related issue, I don't think that the existence of virtual particles or of anti-matter need be of concern to chemists.
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#17 John Cuthber

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:59 AM

That would rule out a lot of spectroscopy- most notably why gold is yellow. Another casualty would be the heavy atom effect in photochemistry.
I don't think there is a simple answer.
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#18 juanrga

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:57 AM

I would call it applied chemistry or inorganic chemistry more than physics because there is no study in the physical behaviour of the matter but on the composition of the matter...


The boundary between chemistry and physics is fuzzy and both disciplines overlap
Posted Image
Nuclear chemistry is a branch of chemistry that overlaps with nuclear physics. From modern nuclear chemistry:

A frequently asked question is “What are the differences between nuclear physics
and nuclear chemistry?” Clearly, the two endeavors overlap to a large extent, and in
recognition of this overlap, they are collectively referred to by the catchall phrase
“nuclear science.” But we believe that there are fundamental, important distinctions
between these two fields. Besides the continuing close ties to traditional chemistry
cited above, nuclear chemists tend to study nuclear problems in different ways than
nuclear physicists. Much of nuclear physics is focused on detailed studies of the
fundamental interactions operating between subatomic particles and the basic
symmetries governing their behavior. Nuclear chemists, by contrast, have tended
to focus on studies of more complex phenomena where “statistical behavior” is
important. Nuclear chemists are more likely to be involved in applications of
nuclear phenomena than nuclear physicists, although there is clearly a considerable
overlap in their efforts. Some problems, such as the study of the nuclear fuel cycle in
reactors or the migration of nuclides in the environment, are so inherently chemical
that they involve chemists almost exclusively.

One term that is frequently associated with nuclear chemistry is that of radio-
chemistry. The term radiochemistry refers to the chemical manipulation of radioac-
tivity and associated phenomena. All radiochemists are, by definition, nuclear
chemists, but not all nuclear chemists are radiochemists.


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#19 John Cuthber

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 05:50 PM

From my point of view, you could merge some of Maths into Physics as well.
There's probably a splodge of psychology type things attached to Biology and things like metallurgy that are Chemistry on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; Physics on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and they take Sunday off.
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