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Knowledge

Knowledge

The more you read, the more you know.

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THE BASIC CHEMISTRY

A knowledge of basic chemistry is important for understanding just about any area of biology from the function of cells to the behavior of organisms and the ecological relationships between organisms and their environment.


Indeed, chemists are fond of teasing biologists by claiming that all biology is chemistry. While this isn't quite true, in order to make sense of the structure of cells and organisms a little chemistry goes a long way.


"Ball and Stick" Model of a Heme group. This group is part of a larger molecule, hemoglobin. Grey=Carbon, Blue= Nitrogen, Red= Oxygen. Hydrogens not shown. *Of course the physicists say that all chemistry is physics!


Information from http://staff.jccc.net/pdecell/chemistry/chemtext.html

Atoms and Elements.

The chemical properties of an atom are determined largely by how full or empty the outer electron shell is. For example, atoms of fluorine(F), chlorine(Cl) and the other elements in that second from the last column of the periodic table need only one electron to fill the outer shell. These atoms have a very strong tendency to steal electrons from other atoms. Oxygen and sulphur have 6 electrons in their outer shell which again holds 8 maximum. Thus these elements tend to steal electrons.


Elements such as Lithium(Li) Sodium(Na) and Potassium(K) on the left hand side of the periodic table have an almost empty shell and these elements readily give up those outer shell electrons to atoms such as oxygen and chlorine. Elements that tend to give up electrons to other atoms are called metals.


Elements in the middle of the periodic table tend to share electrons rather than give them up or take them entirely. Many of these such as iron, copper or gold are also considered metals.


The elements at the far right: Helium, Neon, Argon etc... are chemically inert because they have a full outer shell. They will only react with other chemicals under very special conditions. These elements are sometimes called the 'noble' or inert gases because it is so difficult to get them to form chemical bonds.


Information from http://staff.jccc.net/pdecell/chemistry/chemtext.html

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