In 1926, Professor J. F. Thorpe wrote a paper about the scope of organic chemistry published in Nature [1]. Organic chemistry is defined as the chemistry of compounds of carbons covers a wide field, wider than covered by any other elements. Its scope embraces all living matter as well as the vast number of non-living substances which are produced through the agency of live. This can be a very great number of compound unrelated to life or to living processes which have been built up by chemist in the laboratory by method he has devised.  Application of organic compounds is enormous and also includes, but is not limited to pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, food, explosives, paints, and cosmetics [2].

In modern definition, organic chemistry [3] is about the study of the structure and reactions of compounds in nature including the reasons behind those structures. Moreover, according to Professor Smith in his book “Advances Organic Chemistry“, three fundamental aspects [4] of the study organic chemistry are: structure, reaction, mechanism. In more detail, Organic Chemistry is about the shapes of these molecules and how the shape relates to their function, especially in the context of biology. It explains how these structures and shapes are discovered. It tells you about the reactions the molecules undergo and, more importantly, how and why they behave in the way they do. It tells you about nature and about industry. It tells you how molecules are made and how you too can think about making molecules. This is the landscape through which you are about to travel. And, as with any journey to somewhere new, exciting, and sometimes challenging, the first thing is to make sure you have at least some knowledge of the local language. Fortunately the language of organic chemistry couldn’t be simpler: it’s all pictures.

To date, there are Nobel Prizes in Organic Chemistry [5] which includes three important fields of this subject: Chemistry of Natural Products, Methodologies in Organic Chemistry, and Polymer Chemistry as well as some general aspects in Organic Chemistry.

References

[1]  Thorpe, J. F. The Scope of Organic Chemistry. Nature 1926118, 483-486.

[2]http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/college-to-career/areas-of chemistry/organic-chemistry.html

[3] Clayden, J.; Greeves, N.; Warren, S. What is Organic Chemistry? Organic Chemistry. Second Edition; Oxford University Press: New York, 2012; 2-14.

[4] Smith, M. B.; March, J. March’s Advanced Organic Chemistry: Reactions, Mechanisms, and Structure. Seven Edition; John Willey & Sons, Inc: New York, 2013, xiii-xv.

[5] “Nobel Prizes in Organic Chemistry”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 13 Feb 2016. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/ chemistry/organic_chemistry.html>

We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.  “Sir Isaac Newton”


 

Basically, science is a systematic study of anything which could be examined, tested, measured, analyzed and verified to find the truth about the object of study itself. In general, science could be distinguished into two parts, hard sciences and soft sciences. The hard sciences consists of all natural sciences, physics, chemistry and biology; and the soft sciences consists of all aspect in social sciences. Murray Gell-Mann, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, said that hard sciences are more fundamental due to its logical aspect. Therefore, in this explanation about the most important thing in science is limited into the common aspect of the hard sciences. In order to do scientific activity, to know the truth of nature through study or research, scientist must do that based on empiricism, experimentation and methodological. Those three foundations in science are integrated into a so-called scientific method. This is the most important thing in science. The scientific method is a structured method which must be done in an order. The scientific method itself is started with the problem identifications which includes the preliminary analysis of ideas whether the ideas are logically possible to do. And then, it is continued by the second step of scientific method which is the data and resources gathering. This includes the literature study of the results of previous studies or at least theories which could be the foundation of the scientific activity which will be done. Afterwards, all of those studies combined with what have been thought about the ideas could generate hypotheses and prediction about how the result of this research will be. The main part of the scientific method itself is the experiment verifications continued with objective analysis about the results. Finally, conclusions could be made based on the entire step above. Those steps could be done repeatedly depends on the results of each processes itself. Sometimes, the result of one loop of scientific method becomes the trigger of another new idea for a new scientific activity.

By scientific method, scientist is taught to identify problems objectively, to take data or make analysis without any manipulation, to solve problem in the most effective way, and to think in the real freedom of mind within the boundary of causality principle. The scientific method could be considered as the morality of the scientist because everything is forced to be objective and no personal interest could affect the result of the scientific activities. If the personal interest is involved in the scientific method, the results will become biased into some interest and sometimes might be considered as pseudo-science result. If scientists is really used the scientific method morality not only in his scientific activity but also in his life activity, they must be an objective and honest person.

There are two kinds of approaches in doing scientific activity, which are theoretical and experimental. The scientific method might run differently in both of approaches. The difference might happen in the so-called experiment verification step of scientific method. In experimental approach, the experiment verification approach could be done by doing real experiments: set experimental apparatus up, acquire experimental data and process the data before analyzed. It could be done by not only a single experiment process but might include several linked-experiments. But, sometimes, in large demanding experiments, the step only includes analysis of present data which has been gathered by the other scientist in the other scientific activity. On the other hands, in the theoretical approach, the experiment verification steps usually done by doing a “gedanken experiment” or thought experiment to check whether the new theory or the new deduction is logically or mathematically true. However, both of approaches are still maintaining the objectivity of the scientific method.

From the explanation above, scientific method is the most important thing in science. It is the soul and the morality of science activity. Without scientific method, the activity of knowing things will lead to pseudo-science where a biased human interest will play a more significant role.

*Taken from SZB