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Mar2-12, 02:11 AM
P: 897
Physics or chemistry?

Quote Quote by fdangelis View Post
Hi PF,
I'm in my second semester in chemistry, and i'm feeling that i am not getting as much physics as i would like and it's based a lot in experimental works instead of theoretical.
i want to study theoretical chemistry, but it seems like going to a physics graduation would be better and get me there faster... I've read a lot of things like relativistic quantum chemistry, quantum physics and quantum chemistry (even though i don't understanding it).
I've looked at both and i don't see how i can learn quantum chemistry if i don't know quantum mechanics (by the way, it's impossible for me to do chemistry and get classes in quantum mechanics or atomic physics, because i need a lot of other classes as a prerequisite).

i'm really considering changing to physics, but i want to know if it's possible to study theoretical chemistry with a physics degree or should i stay in chemistry?

sorry if i wrote something wrong and thank you in advance. :)
I originally started doing Chemistry at university (for a bureaucratic reason my options were limited to chemistry and engineering degrees) and although I had a long-standing interest in it, I quickly realized that I was paying more attention to the physics aspects in the courses than the chemistry. I liked lab work but I felt like I'd rather be studying physics most of the time. After my 2nd year I had the opportunity of switching to physics and did so, and don't regret my decision.

My thoughts are that if you're certain you want to do chemistry & lots of lab work, stick with chemistry. If you have the slightest inkling towards physics, then try physics instead of trying to convince yourself you'll get to do as much physics as you'd like in chemistry (as I tried to and wasn't satisfied).

I definitely see a lot of theoretical physicists doing "theoretical chemistry", making computer models of molecular interactions, working out bonding energies, etc. at my university. So if that's the bit of chemistry you like the most (like myself), you'll probably be making a good decision (and have a lot of other options available too).