PREFACE To reap the full benefit of any product available in the market, consumers should know the types of raw materials in the products, the way in which the products perform their job, and the precautions that need to be taken when using the products. With some basic knowledge of chemistry, the small print on the label becomes important to the consumer and may lead to a better selection and use of the product purchased. The first chapter of this book deals primarily with the chemical nature of both living and non-living things. Chapter Two places emphasis on the innate curiosity of man and his use of experimentation in the evolution of important chemical transformation processes that bring about changes in matter. These reaction processes are employed in the chemical industries discussed in the subsequent chapters; their inclusion therefore seeks to bring the study of chemistry into focus in the student's life. The rest of the text material, which can be built on a very thoughtful analysis of chemical theory or a simple notion of atoms, molecules and a few molecular geometries and interactions, enlightens the student on the many ways in which chemical knowledge has been applied to solve practical problems. An innovative approach to the problem of teaching students something about the chemical processes which touch upon their daily lives is discussed under various chemical aspects including: isolation of metals from their ores and salts and their uses, nuclear processes and their applications, the manufacture of soaps and detergents, synthetic fibres and surface-coating products, beauty aids, perfumes and flavouring agents, foods, agrochemical and animal health products, fermentation reaction products and medicines, environmental chemical pollution, chemical poisons and their basis of toxicity, the role of chemistry in industrial and economic development (with a discussion on some critical industries) and, finally, safety precautions against chemical hazards. Although some of the exercises provided at the end of each chapter are meant to test the reader's understanding of concepts, a few open-ended questions have been added to stimulate the bright student and to involve him or her in some of the inevitable controversies of chemical science. A few references have been provided to encourage the enthusiastic student to develop a taste for studying in depth a particular point of interest.