Chemistry is a very old discipline, with references to chemical transformations and debate about the nature of matter dating back to the times of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. Modern chemistry began to emerge from alchemy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, thanks to scholars such as Boyle and Lavoisier, leading to rapid advances in the following two centuries. In this feature, eight leading chemists with a broad spectrum of interests look to the future and share their vision for how their own fields may develop in the coming years. Even though research is increasingly interdisciplinary, the articles are roughly divided into traditional areas of chemistry. It is interesting to note, however, the key themes that occur in more than one article, including energy and sustainable chemistry. The chemical tools used to investigate biology — and the analytical tools chemists themselves use — are discussed, as well as the synergy between experiment and theory. Structure and bonding are at the core of the discipline, especially inorganic chemistry, whereas using weaker intermolecular forces to assemble supermolecules is a field with much still to explore. To begin, the central place of synthesis in chemistry is emphasized and extended to chemistry's place in science.
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The future of chemistry. Nature Chem 1, 5 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.139
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Foundations of Science (2010)