The study of carbon-based life, and the question of whether it is
the only possible form of life, are subjects that our recent advances
in space exploration have transformed from philosophy into experimental
chemistry. Chemistry, Matter and the Universe ends with what
the authors believe to be the most exciting great challenges facing
chemistry: the problem of life.
In the traditional nomenclature, Chapters 1-10 would be described
as inorganic chemistry, Chapters 11-17 as physical chemistry, Chapters
18-21 as organic chemistry, and chapters 22-26 as biochemistry.
Although this is true in principle, we try to show that these categories
overlap, and are more pedagogical than real. Chemistry should be
thought of as a unified whole, and in the most general terms as
a framework for explaining the world in which we live, and from
which we have evolved.
Richard E. Dickerson