Man's physical universe

xanabras

UNIT VIII

MAN IS MASTERING HIS MATERIAL WORLD

THROUGH AN EVER INCREASING UNDER-

STANDING OF ITS NATURE

INTRODUCTION TO UNIT VIII

Some of man's greatest achievements in mastering his material

world may be found in the transformation of matter. The manufacture

of dyes, drugs, perfumes, and high explosives from coal, and the synthetic

production of nylon represent chemical changes (changes in the

composition of matter). The rest of this text is devoted to the study

of the contributions of chemistry to modern living. In this Unit the


basic principles necessary to an understanding of the units that follow

will be presented. These basic principles are also necessary for an

intelligent use of the better things that chemistry will

bring to you

for better living as long as you live.

What is chemistry? Briefly, chemistry is the science of materials.

It deals with the clothes that we wear, the foods that we eat, the metals

and alloys that have made possible our modern machines, the glass in

our houses, the soap and the water that we use for bathing. We are

living in the age of chemistry.

Chemistry, . . . whose practical value to our civilization can hardly be

exaggerated, is valuable more for the control it gives over nature, than for the

insight it gives us into nature. The chemist's power of control results, of

course, from the insight he has obtained, but it so happens that great depth

of insight is not necessary in order to gain great power of control.^

1 J. W. N. Sullivan, The Limitations of Science, The Viking Press, New York, 1934, p. 296.

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