MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: I am planning to go into the chemistry field when I get older and...

Date: Fri Jul 2 11:02:21 1999
Posted By: Greta Hardin, Secondary School Teacher, Chemistry, George Washington University
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 928459234.Ch

How to prepare for chemistry in real life...

Taking chemistry and biology classes is certainly a good start.  The next 
place you need to go is MATH!  As I am sure you are aware, most of what you 
are dealing with in chemistry is rather tiny, but you need to be able to 
talk about it all the same.  One of the best, most time honored methods for 
keeping track of lots of very tiny things is mathematically.  One of your 
core classes in college,  if you pursue chemistry, will be physical 
chemistry.  This is based heavily on linear algebra.  That math dialect is 
more or less the glossary for that class.

Therefore, I  advise not only getting this early start on the sciences, but 
get a good solid start on math.  This means you'd be in the best shape if 
you get through calculus before you leave highschool.  A good way to 
practice calculus and become comfortable with it, is to use it in the task  
for which it was invented: physics!

Chemistry hardly exists in isolation.  It sits in the center surrounded by 
physics, math and biology.  As you get more familliar with chemistry and the 
surrounding terrain, see if you can't track down a summer internship or two 
that will let you more thoroughly explore those interests.  The more you 
learn about the universe of chemistry,  the more you will see there is.  
Exploring one or two fields with in this universe can give you a little more 
depth of understanding than trying to take in all the surface.

I'll warn you though,  all the classes I've recommended have very heavy 
books, so invest in a good backpack now.  Warm up your analytical neurons  

Greta Hardin

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