Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. It is often called the central science, as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems. Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, chemistry is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science, and serves as useful preparation for employment. Earth, water, air and fire are often said to be the four classical elements. They have connections with Hinduism and Buddhism. The Greek philosopher Plato was the first to call these entities elements. The study of chemistry has changed dramatically from its origins in the early days of alchemists, who had as their quest the transmutation of common metals into gold. Although today alchemists are not regarded as being true scientists, modern chemistry has the study of alchemy as its roots. Alchemists were among the first to develop strict experimentation processes and laboratory techniques. Robert Boyle, often credited with being the father of modern chemistry, began experimenting as an alchemist. Despite the exciting and extraordinary development of ideas throughout the history of chemistry, certain things have remained unchanged. Observations remain essential at the very core of chemistry, and this sometimes requires decisions about what to look for. The scientific processes carried out by the most eminent scientists in the past are the same ones followed by working chemists today and, crucially, are also accessible to students in schools. The body of scientific knowledge has grown in size and complexity, and the tools and skills of theoretical and experimental chemistry have become so specialized, that it is difficult (if not impossible) to be highly proficient in both areas. While students should be aware of this, they should also know that the free and rapid interplay of theoretical ideas and experimental results in the public scientific literature maintains the crucial link between these fields. The Diploma Programme chemistry course includes the essential principles of the subject but also, through selection of an option, allows teachers some flexibility to tailor the course to meet the needs of their students. The course is available at both standard level (SL) and higher level (HL), and therefore accommodates students who wish to study chemistry as their major subject in higher education and those who do not. At the school level both theory and experiments should be undertaken by all students. They should complement one another naturally, as they do in the wider scientific community. The Diploma Programme chemistry course allows students to develop traditional practical skills and techniques and to increase facility in the use of mathematics, which is the language of science. It also allows students to develop interpersonal skills, and digital technology skills, which are essential in 21st century scientific endeavour and are important life-enhancing, transferable skills in their own right.
1. Stoichiometric relationships
2. Atomic structure
3. Periodicity
4. Chemical bonding and structure
5. Energetics/thermochemistry
6. Chemical kinetics
7. Equilibrium
8. Acids and bases
9. Redox processes
10. Organic chemistry
11. Measurement and data processing

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