Essay Title: 

Matter and Life



Matter is anything that has mass . All objects around us are made of matter . Matter can be defined as a “material substance that occupies space , has mass and is composed predominantly of atoms consisting of protons , neutrons and electrons that constitutes the observable universe and that is interconvertible with energy (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Over the years , the theory of matter has evolved . In ancient times it was believed that matter is made up of four elements – earth , air , fire and water . This theory was [banner_entry_middle]

rejected and it was instead proposed that matter is a single substance . The modern theory of matter states that matter is made of up of atoms . Atom is considered to be the basic unit of any element and can combine chemically to form molecules . Every atom consists of a nucleus which is positively charged . The nucleus itself contains two main particles : neutrons with no electrical charge and protons with positive electrical charge . Around the nucleus , there are negatively charged electrons (Info Encyclopedia Online

The modern theory of matter can be attributed to the work of John Dalton . Dalton ‘s theory was based on four main concepts (Capri Anthony

All matter is composed of indivisible particles called atoms

All atoms of a given element are identical . However , all atoms of different elements have different properties

Chemical reactions involve the combination of atoms , not the destruction of HYPERLINK “JavaScript :WinOpen /library /pop_glossary_term .php ?oid 1509 l ‘Glossa ry ,500 ,300 ” atoms

When HYPERLINK “JavaScript :WinOpen /library /pop_glossary_term .php ?oid 1510 l ‘Glossa ry ,500 ,300 ” elements react to form HYPERLINK “JavaScript :WinOpen /library /pop_glossary_term .php ?oid 1517 l ‘Glossa ry ,500 ,300 ” compounds , they react in defined , whole-number ratios

Although modern economic theory has been modified even more today , the essence of Dalton ‘s theory still remains valid . However , scientists have now discovered that atoms can be destroyed by nuclear reactions but not by chemical reactions . Scientists also know that different kinds of atoms within an element are called isotopes . Isotopes of an element may have the same chemical properties


There are primarily three states of matter




The core properties of gases , liquids and gas are summarized as follows (Purdue : Educational Help

Some Characteristics of Gases , Liquids and Solids and the Microscopic Explanation for the Behavior

Gas Liquid solid

assumes the shape and volume of its container

particles can move past one another assumes the shape of the part of the container which it occupies

particles can move /slide past one another retains a fixed volume and shape

rigid – particles locked into place


lots of free space between particles not easily compressible

little free space between particles not easily compressible

little free space between particles

flows easily

particles can move past one another flows easily

particles can move /slide past one another does not flow easily

rigid – particles cannot move /slide past one another Analyzing solids , liquids and gases macroscopically and microscopically reveals many interesting… [banner_entry_footer]


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