Macademics: Branches of Chemistry
Hey guys! I know you all know that chemistry is made up of a lotttttt of branches. So this week, I wanted to talk a little bit about the major branches and certain jobs you can get in each. I think it's really important to have a feel for the types of career paths you can take as you're navigating through school and majors.
I'm an analytical chemist by trade, so I'll start there. This branch of chemistry looks at the properties of materials and developing new methods of analyses. Analytical chemists basically answer the questions "how?" and "why? things occur they way they do and try to find new ways to answer these questions. I love it. It's like solving a puzzle about anything in the world. I used to analyze polymers, and now I look at drugs of abuse in biological fluids - needless to say the applications are endless. Some jobs you can get as an analytical chemist include working in industry as a lab tech for any company that has a lab or even working in the government as a chemist in fields like forensics. We can basically work anywhere.
Next, I'll talk about inorganic chemistry. If I wasn't an analytical chemist I would've been in this field because they play with metals that make pretty colors. (Cobalt is my favorite element because of the blue it makes) This branch of chemistry studies how the transition metals behave and their properties. You can work with plastics, coatings, geoscience, or even mining with this background.
Physical chemistry applies physics to chemistry. They look at thermodynamics and kinetics of molecular or atomic systems or some even focus on computational work to build modeling programs. A lot of physical chemists work as analytical chemists (see, told you we were great) in order to study the reactions they're interested in alongside the hardcore math they do. But they can also work in materials science, finding new compounds to use based on their mathematical predictions for various applications. They're the ones you want to get to help you with their math homework.
Organic chemists study carbon and hydrogen and their products...which is everything basically. It's very synthesis and characterization heavy, but it's applicable to how we live our lives everyday. Carbon and hydrogen are two of the main elements found in practically anything, so someone has to study it. These types of chemists can work in the food industry, textile industry, or in research centers.
These are the big four branches so don't think this is ALL there is out there in chemistry. I didn't even talk about biochemistry, environmental chemistry, nanochemistry, polymer chemistry, electrochemistry, geochemistry, etc. I just wanted to give you all a general overview of some of the things chemistry has to offer.
If you have any specific questions about getting into chemistry for grad school or jobs or anything for that matter, shoot us an email or talk to me on social media!