Chemistry is the study of matter, the study of all the materials the world is made from. The proper setting for the study of chemistry is the entire material universe, living and non-living. Chemists try to understand how substances combine and how new materials can be produced. The subject involves laboratory-based experiments and analysis, but it is much more than that; there is no change that occurs in our material universe which does not involve chemical processes. Everything is chemistry.
The general public has become increasingly aware of chemistry because of reports in the popular press about issues such as acid rain and global warming. Unfortunately popular accounts often lack depth and can contain misinformation. Whatever we feel about problems facing the modern world, an understanding of chemistry will enable us to respond to them appropriately.