Chemistry and Life

Topics: Oxygen, Metabolism, Chemical element Pages: 3 (1075 words) Published: March 20, 2013
Describe the concept of atoms and molecules as a basis for the physical and chemical prosperities of living and non-living things.

The entire universe consists of matter, everything from planets and stars, to trees, water and organisms. Matter is comprised of atoms, the smallest subunit of elements, which can be singular or molecular to form larger units. Non-living things, such as a red housing brick, or a metal zip do not require any extra elements to hold shape or produce energy and they cannot reproduce. When exploring living organisms such as humans, the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen are the base essentials to sustain life. Carbon and hydrogen are found in almost every molecule of the body, nitrogen is part of the bodies’ range of proteins, and oxygen is required for respiration and energy production. While there are 22 other elements found in the body such as potassium, calcium, iron and sodium, in ion form, they are in much lesser amounts in comparison to carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. Organic compounds, better known as food, once consumed, are broken down and reused in the body to make energy, build cells, and regulate body activities.

So what is matter? Matter is the stuff that absolutely everything is made up of from the living to the non-living. Matter can be broken down into atoms, which are the smallest subunit of elements. Atoms consist of a nucleus with protons which are positively charged, and neutrons which have no charge. They also have an electron ‘cloud’, and this is what allows atoms to bond together to form molecules. These elements are strategically placed into the periodic table, showing the 92 natural elements and 26 artificial elements. All living matter is made up four primary elements: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. These elements assist in the physical and chemical activities to sustain life, e.g. produce and use energy, reproduce and continue life. Nonliving matter is not therefore something...
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