Chemistry v/s Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering Aug 17, 2020

On the 24th day of July 2019, at around 5:30 PM, I could be found sitting beside my father explaining him the difference between BITS & BIT, B.E & B.Tech, single degree and dual degree, and most importantly, Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.

Much of humanity believes that if they aced high school Chemistry, they could do good as a Chemical Engineer too, right? RIGHT???

The thing is, the ignorant are ignorant of their ignorance. I got myself corrected from this misconception that had born in my mind by talking to people with this background. The fact that Chemistry and Chemical Engineering are similar is as incorrect as the fact that Coding and Computer Science are similar. It's like saying Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering are similar. They're simply not!. Both of them intersect at some points but that point is so small and insignificant in perspective to the rest of the course that it doesn't even count in the long run.

Anyway, coming back to 24th July 2019, at around 5:30 PM, the first question my father bombarded me with was "Hmm...Chemical Engineers...they make soap, right?". As stupefied as I was at my father's ignorance, I couldn't really argue. Because he was not from the Engineering field at all and wouldn't make a point to explain it all the way to him. Guess who couldn't "get it" even after multiple explanations, my friends at BITS. They are the true example of ignorants. One of them even mocked, and continues to mock me, over the fact that I would end up making paracetamol in a desert. I...I don't even know what to say to that.

And that's still not the end of it. The biggest of the reasons as to why people show derision over the course of Chemical Engineering is because they hate Chemistry! And that is almost like hating an entire television show because of its last season!

Then there is Sharma Ji, whose son has been preparing for international olympiads and entrance exams since almost when he was born, whose advice is taken more seriously by my parents than mine own. He suggests that I should go for a different branch since chemistry can be boring. Even infinite face palm moments cannot compromise for the expression I make after listening to what he has to say about my career.

Even when I visit my school, during the Alumni meets, the chemistry teacher brags throughout the corridors that one of her students is finally doing something related to Chemistry, which again is as incorrect as...well you get it. Meanwhile, my wannabe GSoCer friends talking about making softwares to colonize Mars would ask me questions like “How have you not yet tried splashing water in sulphuric acid”. However interesting the idea of that sounds to me, I AM NOT A CHEMISTRY STUDENT.

In the end, I believe the problem isn't even theirs. The mistake was made by the person who decided to name it Chemical Engineering and not something which was less of a giveaway, like maybe Process Engineering. Then there are the group of friends who still disbelieve me over my statement that "Chemistry and Chemical Engineering are very different". Facepalms. Again. And. Again. But then it’s all worth it for this beautiful discipline.


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