"Francie came away from her first chemistry lecture in a glow. In one hour she
had found out that everything was made up of atoms which were in continual
motion. She grasped the idea that nothing was ever lost or destroyed. Even if
something was burned up or left to rot away, it did not disappear from the face of
the earth; it changed into something else--gases, liquids, and powders.
Everything, decided Francie after that first lecture, was vibrant with life and there
was no death in chemistry. She was puzzled as to why learned people didn't
adopt chemistry as a religion."
Excerpt from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)