How are chemists different and alike to scientists?

Chemists are scientists. Chemistry is a branch of science, so anyone who is practicing chemistry is doing science.

The study of chemistry involves many parts of other sciences, so in some senses chemists also are sometimes physicists, physicians, biologists, sociologists, economists, mathematicians, astronomers, geneticists, or ecologists. For the same reasons, many scientists in fields other than chemistry end up doing a lot of chemistry.

Medical scientists, geologists, botanists, meteorologists, volcanologists, mineralogists, and oceanographers all frequently use chemistry in what they do.

Science is a systematic approach to obtaining knowledge. It can be applied to anything. The scientific method has four parts:

  • Observation and measurement
  • Forming a hypothesis
  • Making a prediction
  • Testing the hypothesis

If you apply the scientific method to find out where you left your socks, you are doing science.

An important part of a scientist's work goes a step beyond the scientific method. Discovering a new bit of knowledge is of little use to anyone but the discoverer unless it is published. And then the publication can lead to other scientists re-testing the hypothesis to make sure the original work was done properly, and without errors. It can also lead to alternative hypotheses to explain the data and the experimental results, leading to new hypotheses and tests to see what is really going on.

In chemistry, this general scientific approach to learning new information is used all the time. So chemists are scientists. But so are mechanics, judges, animal trainers, and parents —  anyone who uses the scientific method can be a scientist.