Monthly Archives: September 2016

Reflection on Matter

Here is the link to my summative assessment- Mixing Alcohol and Water

My initial idea of matter was that it needs to have mass. It needs weight. All matter can be felt and touched. My wondering that time was how could matter be transformed. Now I have the answer to one of my biggest confusion before. Matter can be changed through chemical reactions, or physical changes, or they can change their state through heating and freezing. I learned what chemical reactions are because first that was our hypothesis for the assessment. A chemical reaction is when two kifferent molecules form a new molecule. Also, these transformations can’t be undone. Those which can be undone are physical changes. We saw this through crystallization. We saw it through many examples of salt, copper sulfate, alum…Also, I learned that the process of the transformation of the state of the element can be done by heating and freezing. The heating process is called distillation. We wanted to do this to prove that the solution of ethanol, and water were from a physical change. Also, so can separate them in a physical change by freezing them. That’s what we did in the end. I feel I am getting closer to the thinking of a scientist, but I’m still very far away. There is a lot to learn before I reach that level. 

Atkins Claim

What do you think of Atkins’ claim that the study of matter was inspired by human greed? I think that it is very true that the foundation of chemistry has come to existence from greed. Greed for immortality and wealth. Alchemists believed that you could live forever, so this search for immortality has lead to the basis of chemistry. Though what I wonder is that there must be some reason why the alchemists thought of immortality, I wonder what provoked them to think so?
What significance does Atkins attribute to the balance?

As stated in the introduction, this is the biggest or most clear difference between Alchemy and Chemistry. The number of atoms, how many atoms of each type, the placement of the atoms…all these specific things is the improvement in chemistry.


Why do you think he suggests the balance shifted the study of matter from a mysterious and somewhat magical system to a scientific one?

Alchemy was a bit blurry. Alchemy was like solving a math problem without numbers. With this balance and chemistry, you are solving a math problem with numbers and getting accurate answers. This accuracy turned the magic into science
What do you think is the completing thought that follows the sentence at the end of this page? (“Weighing matter before and after it had undergone transformation from one substance to another led to the principal concept that underlies all explanations in chemistry:”)

What do you think the “principal concept” is?

The number of atoms you use to make a molecule is the principle concept of chemistry. Also the conservation of mass.

Without the specific number of atoms, you can’t create the molecules. You can’t keep experimenting each time, you need exact numbers. You need to know how much hydrogen and oxygen you need to make water. 

Also, Hydrogen and Oxygen are gases, and when you mix them, you get the liquid water. Turning the gas into a liquid is a key as well. It is called conservation of mass. Chemicals and atoms can transform stuff. Chemical reactions can’t create or destroy mass, it can only transform mass.