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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Chemistry today



Chemistry is a vital part of creating the modern world. To understand the natural world, you need chemistry. From DNA to space flight, virtually all parts of science and technology have a chemistry component.

Studying chemistry will help you to understand the building blocks of all matter in the universe. Learning how elements interact with each other and create everything we can see, is covered by chemistry. Predicting how an acid will react when you add a base will save your cakes in food technology, keep your cleaning products active in industrial chemistry, and get the ph. of your fertiliser just right.

Seedlings with chemical symbols

Modern agriculture and farming could not exist without chemistry. All plants need sunlight and water, and today we know that plants also need a mix of potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous to grow. Knowing which elements plants need to grow is vital to creating large farms that can feed today’s populations. 

As well as knowing which chemicals are needed for farming, we need to know where to find supplies of these elements, or how to make them. Modern life depends on creating nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, to grow the plants we need to feed ourselves, not just the fruits and vegetables we enjoy but also the feed for dairy, chickens, and other farm animals.

Careers with chemistry

Atoms and elements are the foundations of chemistry, and chemistry is the foundation of many careers. Chemistry is also needed to succeed in; health and medicine, all the different fields of engineering, food technology, textiles, construction, architecture, geology, aeronautics, design, archaeology and so much more. Understanding chemistry is vital to many science subjects and STEM careers.

Woman wearing PPE operating a large machine