CHEMISTRY: HANDMAID OF MEDICINE
On behalf of the Journal, as Editor-in-Chief, it is my distinct honour and privilege to welcome you to the Journal of Organic and Inorganic Chemistry.
I want to discuss the importance of chemistry in day today life and its added advantages.
The particular branch of science called Chemistry has many relations to human life, as well as to other sciences. It forms an essential part of holding the key which alone can unlock the gate to really fundamental knowledge of the hidden causes of health and disease. This is one of the most precious and vital ways in which any branch of science can serve humanity in the years to come.
Ten centuries ago, in the time of the alchemists, chemistry was called “the handmaid of medicine”. To-day this relationship is not weaker, but rather much stronger.
That a close relationship between chemistry and medicine exists is clear to everyone. Our bodies are wholly built up of chemical substances, and all the manifold functions of the living organism depend, at least in part, upon chemical reactions. Chemical processes enable us to digest our food, keep us warm, and supply us with muscular energy. In short, the human body is a wonderfully intricate chemical machine; and its health and illness, its life and death, are essentially connected with the coordination of a variety of complex chemical changes.
Chemistry is fast approaching physics in accuracy, and is expanding beyond physics in scope. An eminent pathologist recently said that in the study of the cell and its growth, normal as well as abnormal, the investigating medical scientist has come to the place where he must fall back upon chemical knowledge, because he perceives that the action of the cell depends upon the nature and quantity of the various chemical substances of which it is made. As the cell is the basis of all life, and as our bodies consist simply of aggregations of a great variety of cells, each of which is governed by chemical laws, it is clear that chemistry must underlie all the vital functions.
Chemistry may be of use to medicine in at least three quite different ways. One of these is concerned with discovering the components of things. This kind of chemistry is called Analytical Chemistry. Another way in which chemistry can help medicine depends upon the ability of the modern chemist, not only to find out what the things are made of, but also to discover how the parts are put together. This branch of chemistry is called Structural Chemistry. Yet another method of helpfulness comes from a still more recent development of chemistry, commonly called Physical Chemistry, which deals with the phenomena lying on the border line between physics and chemistry.
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Journal of Organic & Inorganic Chemistry