Language of Chemistry
To What degree might each area of knowledge be seen as having its own language? Its own culture?
How can we tell the difference between a foreign language and a variation of our native language?
1) How chemistry has its own language
a) Chemistry: 2H2 + O2 2H2O
b) English: Two molecules of hydrogen react with one molecule of oxygen to form two molecules of water.
This represents how chemistry has its own language because it uses different
grammar rules and even different characters when it is written.
a) (this could be considered an abbreviation instead of its own language because both the equation and the sentence have the exact same meaning. This still doesn’t mean that it is a language because it can directly translate into English which contradicts the Worf theory of language.)
b) The following two equations are examples ...view middle of the document...
This is represented by a large number immediately before the atom/molecule. In this equation both numbers are “2”
2) When chemistry doesn’t completely translate into English
f) English: ethanol,(drinking alcohol) E85
g) A lot of information is lost when it is translated into english. This supports the Worf theory. (contradiction would be the cloak theory)
h) It turns out that the word ethanol actually gives us quite a bit of information about the molecule.
i) Prefix “eth” means it has two carbon atoms
ii) Suffix “ane” means that the carbon atoms have a single bond between them
iii) Suffix “ol” means that the carbon atoms are bonded to an OH pair
i) This could mean that the structure diagram isn’t language but instead a better representation
j) “fat molecule”- complex image into a very simple name. Example of how chemistry does not translate to English.
3) Chemistry having a form of “culture”
k) Definition of culture (one if many): the capacity to classify and represent experiences or objects with symbols.
l) Each element is represented by its own unique symbol
(1) EX: Hydrogen = H
(2) Oxygen= O
(3) Chlorine= Cl
(4) Sodium= Na
m) Periodic table
iv) The periodic table was influenced by chemistry and serves as the backbone of chemistry, just as culture is seen as the backbone to society.
v) To me, the periodic table represents culture because it is the product of hundreds of years of scientific research and observation
vi) Then again, a multiplication chart in math might not be seen as culture, even though it shares many similarities with the periodic table.
"Culture Definition." Texas A&M University - College Station, TX. Web. 06 Dec. 2011. <http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/choudhury/culture.html>.
"HowStuffWorks "How Alcohol Works"" HowStuffWorks "Science" Web. 06 Dec. 2011. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/alcohol2.htm>.