What is Chemistry?

Originally published at: https://bigideas.network/chemistry/

Throughout the vast majority of the universe, chemistry as we know it barely ever happens.

Almost the entire universe is dark, cold, and empty space, far from the heat and light of stars or geothermal activity. Molecules lie frozen on asteroids or floating in gas clouds, too cold and far away from each other to interact.

On the stars that speckle the universe, temperatures are so hot that almost all connections between molecules are broken down as soon as they form. Stars are energetic but as a consequence are made up of relatively simple stuff…

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