Photograph depicts two human hands holding a diamond and coal.imgThe Power of Chemistry

“It's just like dating!” my colleague exclaimed as he rushed into the room. A recent divorcé, Brian had just discovered online matchmaking websites, so it was with some trepidation that I asked him, “What's just like dating?”

“Business relationships,” he replied.

At that point I was dubious about where the conversation was heading, but then he continued, saying, “It's all about the chemistry.”

Chemistry. A powerful word used to represent that magical something that can exist between people—and not just the romantically inclined. The term is applied broadly, from successful sports teams to highly rated news anchors to popular political leaders. In most cases its presence is obvious, but mysterious. It is hard to know exactly what's behind it. It's just there.

Of course, chemistry is also a branch of science that explores what matter is made of and how those ingredients interact, combine, and change. As a former pre-med student, I vividly recall my afternoons in the organic chemistry lab, carefully titrating this and heating that to create the perfect cocktail that would bring about the particular transformation I was hoping for (rather than an explosion). This other definition of chemistry pertains to the precise, analytical, and measured (literally). And yet ...

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