Geology and the earth sciences occupy a special place in the academic universe. They are the very tangible examples of chemistry and physics at work in the real world. Not the strange world of atoms and smaller objects where Newtonian physics falls apart into strange new rules. Not the vastness of an unimaginably strange Universe. It is the ground beneath our feet, the flooding of a nearby river, the shock of an earthquake, the price of gasoline at the local pump. It is the prediction of next week's snowstorm, the drought of the next decade, and sea level rise in the next century. It is the planning for the end of an oil economy. An understanding of the earth sciences is critical to making the best choices in resource use and allocation in an overpopulated world.
National parks and monuments are not generally established because they preserve some aspect of physics and chemistry. If they don't preserve a historical battleground or unique plant or animal, they are there because something of geology is worthy of our interest and protection. We may photograph the bears, deer and squirrels that inhabit Yosemite, Yellowstone or Grand Canyon, but the meaning of the parks is in the rocks. The squirrels live everywhere, but the geysers, rock strata and gorges make these places unique. Communicating the meaning and value of these parks to society is prime concern of the park's interpretive rangers.
That brings us to the challenge. To be a geology/earth science major, one needs to be a real polymath, a Homo Universalis (look it up! I had to). It is generally recognized that the candidate needs to master calculus, physics and chemistry, usually in classes that has him or her competing directly with actual math, physics and chemistry majors. It is not the easiest major to pursue. In an ideal academic world, the geo-major would have prerequisites in all of these listed fields before ever setting foot in a physical geology course.
And as Randy points out, the noble gases already have filled outer electron shells, so they don't react or bond with other atoms at all. These elements include helium and argon gas. A moment of truthfulness here: I was actually thinking of the very weak Van der Waals bonds, but the example of the noble gases works much better as a metaphor of non-commitment!
The next step is to understand how these bonds lead to the formation of the crystals (and crystalline solids) we find scattered throughout the crust of the earth (such as the amethyst quartz above). I love crystals, not for spiritual new age reasons, but for the assurance they provide us that there is order in the Universe. They are beautiful reminders of the accomplishments of atomic couch potatoes seeking that nirvana of the lowest energy state possible.