This article is the result of a lot of emotions in me that were stirred up by an email from a student I am tutoring. The student, a college-level nursing major, didn’t understand why her latest test score was so low, and asked me to examine the graded material. So, I did. What I found upset me on a very basic, primal level. The student had no clue as to what she was talking about. Basic facts about science – wrong. It was shocking. I thought about things for a while, and decided I would let this article serve as an outlet for the emotions I was feeling, and make the argument for me. Let me tell you why everyone in today’s society needs to have basic chemistry knowledge.
Chemistry is vital to living in today’s society. It’s basic. It’s fundamental. It’s everywhere. All of us, here on this planet, are nestled in its grasp. You can’t escape it.
Decisions about medical care, decisions about what type of diet to eat, or what type of life to live; decisions on what type of product to buy, whether it be that plastic or that plastic, decisions on what level of risk is attributable to certain behaviors, and what level of risk is acceptable overall…
Those with a knowledge of chemistry are going to do better. They’re going to finish faster. They’re going to be less stressed. They’re going to have higher levels of self-confidence, and self-esteem. They’re going to be smarter consumers, more demanding consumers. They’re going to be safer. They’re going to understand the implications of breaking news, and be able to maneuver to take advantage of it. They’re going to have the vital knowledge that someone needs to make their quality of life be very high.
I know these statements to be truth because I have an education in chemistry, a very high level of education in chemistry, and I’ve seen the results for myself. For every explanation I’ve given to a family member of a medicines side effects; for every time I’ve explained the science behind everyday technologies, technologies that are omnipresent in our lives; for every time I’ve made a smarter consumer choice as a result of my training in chemistry and technology, there has been someone who hasn’t had those benefits. Twenty someones. One hundred someones.
Our world today is at the very tip of a scary precipice. We have such a steep increase in the sophistication and immersive depth of our technology that our planet is on the brink of a Golden Age. When it starts, those without at least a fundamental-level, working knowledge of chemistry and basic science are going to be left behind. They won’t have the basic survival skills for that type of society, and I’m telling you, it’s coming. It’s on its way, and it probably can’t be stopped.
Yes, chemistry can be a scary subject. It can be a difficult subject. Which choice would you prefer: learning a difficult subject, or living a difficult life?
I, myself? I like to feel that I’m in charge of my own destiny, that no-one decides my fate but me. I prefer learning a difficult subject over to living a difficult, frustrating life, where I don’t have the knowledge needed to make basic decisions.
Chemistry is fundamental to living in today’s society. Which type of life do you want to live? Would you rather be active and understand, or be passive and ignorant? Which sounds more appealing?
Everyone needs a basic level understanding of chemistry and I know this to be a universal truth, I know it more firmly than I know virtually any other fact and if I have to go student by student, one at a time, I’m going to make it my goal to educate those around me about the subject. If you’re reading this, please think seriously about what I’ve said. You can’t afford to remain in the darkness anymore.