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Chemistry Information Sources

Chemistry as a Discipline

The discipline of chemistry covers a wide spectrum of inquiry: organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, chemical engineering, and analytical chemistry are just four of the many disciplines and specialties that fall within the boundaries of "chemistry." In fact, "chemistry," like "biology," struggles to encompass the entire range of research and discovery that is constantly being produced by experts in the field.

Part of the reason that "chemistry" is almost too general a term to describe the full discipline is that chemistry influences so many other scientific areas. For example, chemistry strongly influences the life sciences. Much research in the biosciences takes place at the chemical level. As life science researchers focus more deeply on the physiological underpinnings of living organisms, they are compelled to understand the chemical nature of life. This broad reach is reflected in many of the disciplines within the life sciences, such as biochemistry, molecular biology, and toxicology.

Chemistry's relationship with physics is also very close: the study of physical interactions of molecules, the structure of atoms, and methods of quantification involve both sciences deeply. The interrelation between chemistry and physics advances research in technology, too, informing the design of computing hardware (such as silicon microprocessors), analytical equipment (such as gas chromatographs or nuclear magnetic resonance detectors), and other devices.

It is important to recognize that chemistry's influence extends well outside the boundaries of just the "chemical sciences;" thorough research on a chemistry topic will often require the study of sources that cross the boundaries between sciences to uncover crucial information.

For more information on how scientific information is created, managed, and organized, check out the Searching the Scientific Literature library guide.