242Chemistry and the art of creation go hand in hand. Originating in medieval times, Chemistry developed from the work of the alchemists who used experimentation and theoretical ideas to make sense of the world around them. The early alchemists spent much of their time trying to turn base metals into gold and searching for an elixir of life. Through their experiments, we now have the periodic table and the experience that will help us to find the answers to many of our questions.

Without Chemistry we simply would not exist. Life would not have evolved and the everyday items that we depend upon would not be available. Travel would be slow, clothing would rely on animal products and we would not have enough food for the population.

Through Chemistry, we have fuel driven vehicles and there are a whole new generation of eco-friendly vehicles in production as well as one that will run using water. We have fabrics and materials that can fulfil any function, including those that are water, fire and bullet proof. Fertilisers and chemical treatments enable us to produce large amounts of food on limited land, and yes, we are almost at the point of finding the elixir for life that the alchemists sought.

While that is not entirely true, we do have wonderful drugs and medicines available that can cure many illnesses, prolong and even improve life. Chemistry is, without doubt, essential to life both as we know it and in the future.