The Words of Science

Chemistry and Science Experiments


Chemistry is a very big subject. It covers lots of different types of reactions and scientific topics, and so there are lots of special words that have specific meanings in chemistry that you don’t normally hear in everyday conversation. They describe lots of cool things, and so here is a list of some of our favorites. See if you can make a list of your own! In fact, go ahead and send us a list of your favorite chemistry words, and we may even feature your list in this blog! How cool is that?


Aqueous: Of, like or containing water. For example, salt water is an “aqueous” solution, meaning salt has been dissolved in water to make the end product. There are lots of science fair experiments that use the properties of water to demonstrate other chemistry principals. Can you think of any off the top of your head?

Catalyst: Something that speeds up or enables a chemical reaction, but without being consumed by the chemical reaction. There are lots of enzymes in our body that are catalysts and help us digest food, power our muscles, and even help us read and understand this blog post! Bet you could come up with some neat science fair projects talking about important catalysts in our body!

Emulsion: When drops of one liquid are suspended in another. A good example is when you mix oil and vinegar for salad dressing. A great science fair project is creating a lava lamp using oil, water and alka seltzer. You can find out how to do that here.

Endothermic: When a process or chemical reaction absorbs energy, and usually becomes cold. Can you think of times when you’ve seen a substance get cold because of a chemical reaction? How about when you use canned air to clean dust off a computer keyboard? Why do you think the can gets so cold? You could do a science fair project on this topic alone!

Exothermic: When a process, or chemical reaction, gives off energy, usually as heat. Some of the best science fair projects explain why chemical reactions are exothermic.

Mass: The amount of stuff found in an object. The more mass, the heavier and denser an object becomes. Which do you think has more mass? Air that fills up a gallon jug or water that fills up a gallon jug? How about the same jug full of dried cement? Why?

Polymer: A molecule that contains many repeating chemical units. Plastics are polymers and so is our Slime! Our Slime has been used numerous times by kids as part of theirscience experiments, and it’s always fun to play with the result!

Solute: The solid that gets dissolved in a liquid. In salt water, the solute is salt.

Super cooling: When you cool something below its freezing point. Have you ever seen what happens to a flower that is dropped into liquid Nitrogen? There are lots of neat videos on Super cooling out there. Ask your parents to help you find some.

Vaporization: When a liquid is heated enough that it becomes a gas. Steam coming off a hot bowl of soup is water that has been vaporized. What happens if you add ice? If you change the types of liquids you put in the bowl? Funny to think that a bowl of soup can be the starting point for a neat science fair project!

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