There was once a time when chemists thought "organic" referred only to things that were living, and that life was the result of a spiritual "life force." While there is nothing wrong with viewing life as having a spiritual component, spiritual matters are simply outside the realm of science, and to mix up the two is as silly as using mathematics to explain love (or vice versa). In fact, the "life force" has a name: carbon, the common denominator in all living things. Not everything that has carbon is living, nor are all the areas studied in organic chemistry—the branch of chemistry devoted to the study of carbon and its compounds—always concerned with living things. Organic chemistry addresses an array of subjects as vast as the number of possible compounds that can be made by strings of carbon atoms. We can thank organic chemistry for much of what makes life easier in the modern age: fuel for cars, for instance, or the plastics found in many of the products used in an average day.