The Nature and Properties of Matter

At its core, chemistry is the science that describes the properties and changes of matter.  Matter is everything in the universe that has mass, and takes up space.  Although some matter can consist of only subatomic particles, anything that you can touch is made entirely of atoms.  The structure of atoms is what determines how they interact and associate with each other.  The interactions and associations of atoms in turn determine the properties of the things we interact with on a human scale.

Since there is so much matter in the universe, and because it can take so many forms, it is no surprise that scientists have developed a rich vocabulary to classify matter based on the properties it exhibits.  Although many of these words find common usage in everyday language it is worth paying attention to the definitions of the words that are given in bold because many of them have a much stricter definition when used scientifically then when used colloquially.

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