(Pre-) Beginner question

So I've spent so much time reading about arduino and hearing all the praises. I finally decided to give in and start my research and I've become extremely interested. So I plan on buying one within the week and I must admit, I'm quite excited. I geek out over searching sparkfun for sensors and switches I could connect to my new arduino. That said, I've had a question. I'm thinking about if I decide to start a big project that requires multiple ATMega's and building my own arduino circuitry. (Stupid) Question is: If I disconnect an ATMega IC from power, does it loose what it was programmed with (not bootloader but a program I threw on there). I'm just curious if it's possible to load circuits on one arduino and transferring the ATMega to another circuitry to control it.

Thanks for your help and I'm excited to join the community.

no its saved to flash rom, like a memory card

Yep, the arduino has 3 types of memory: Flash memory, will be retained when shut off, and holds the bootloader/program RAM, which holds data for variables, but it will be eraser when disconnected from power And EEPROM memory I think, which retains data after shutoff.

I believe this is correct,if I remember correctly.

start with some blinking LEDs and a shift register or two first.

just a thought...

if I decide to start a big project that requires multiple ATMega's and building my own arduino circuitry.

I would advise you learned to crawl before you try to fly.