When i said that my major is chemistry, a lot of people think that I cook. But, chemistry and cooking ARE different.
So, for you, what is chemistry refer to?
It's how something reacts to any change, for example in heat, pressure, the introduction of another substance - anything. This makes chemistry very useful in a lot of fields; it can take the sting out of an insect bite, keep bridges from breaking, preserve a dead body (as well as deteriorate it, and anticipate the duration for that matter) - and it's equally useful in cooking.
I don't know why people misunderstand your major, @Marie, because chemistry is a far-reaching subject with multiple aspects and is in no way exclusive to one single thing. Perhaps the misconception stems from the fact that an increasing number of professional cooks have started using studies of reactions to create unconventional methods that yield both perfect and unique results. In reference to the evolution of something as seemingly simple as ice cream-making (which in itself uses knowledge of molecular structure to give the desired consistency): traditional methods involved keeping the ice cream mixture in the freezer for long hours while modern chefs are now achieving the same result in a matter of seconds simply by pouring liquid nitrogen over.
As a person who loves to cook, I can vouch for chemistry saving me in the kitchen on a regular basis. Not sure if they are different, in that, chemistry isn't cooking - but cooking is chemistry, through and through.
@Kenan: Respect science, absolutely.
I just can't believe there are such life forms on earth...to understand the importance of chemistry you need to have a working brain at first, then you need to have basic information about your own useless body, there are millions of chemical reactions happening in it every single second.
And Estefania, i completely agree with you, there are exceptions especially in organic chemistry, but it's what makes it perfect, isn't it?
Chemistry fascinates me, a lot. A couple of my old classmates are studying it and every now and then they post photos on Facebook, showing what they are doing in lab. Well, everytime I see that photos, I whish I could do the same.
I know something basic as I studied it in high school and for an exam at University, but if I had time, I'd like to deepen my knowledge.
So, even if I don't know you, I really appreciate what you do!
And most of all, I think people talks like that when they don't know what they are talking about!
This is going to possibly make me unpopular, but as a physicist, chemistry is just applied physics. Quantum mechanics practically explains the atom and hence molecules etc., so it boils down to physics. I respect chemists though as they do a lot of fun stuff I don't get to do.
Are the words for "chemistry" and "cooking" similar in French? You won't have to worry about people thinking chemistry in English.
The word "chemist", however, can also refer to someone who works in a pharmacy. After you graduate you'll probably have to clarify that you're an actual chemist.