# Chemistry Books on Physical chemistry

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1. Jan 3, 2018

### Wrichik Basu

I want some undergraduate level (or postgraduate level will also do) books on physical chemistry.

I've got two books: one by Ira Levine and the other by Peter Atkins. But both these books contain only huge amounts of thermodynamics. Other topics are almost not touched upon.

I want a book that should have, among other topics,

1. Equilibria: chemical and ionic
2. ‎Gas equations
3. ‎Solid State chemistry
4. ‎Electrochemistry
5. ‎Surface Chemistry

The book (may not be one) should have derivations of formulae and worked-out numericals.

2. Jan 3, 2018

### vanhees71

The standard book when I've been a student was

P. Atkins, Physical Chemistry

3. Jan 3, 2018

### Wrichik Basu

I'll close this discussion here itself acknowledging that Atkins' book is enough for all that I've asked for.

Now my problem: I had bought Atkins' book from a local shop, and I used it mainly for study of thermodynamics. Now, it happened to be that I never opened the contents. After @vanhees71 told me, I checked it, and found that some page numbers were missing in the contents. I started checking the book and found that pages other than thermodynamics and later chapters are not there. I contacted the seller, and he said that he will change the book.

Very sorry for all this, indeed Atkins is enough. Many thanks to @vanhees71 .

Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
4. Jan 3, 2018

### Buffu

I don't like Atkin's book. Numerical questions are just plug and chug problems; I can literally program a calculator and complete the numerical questions within 10 mins. Theoretical problems are - contrary to numerical questions - impossible to do. For example take a look at theoretical problems on Joule-Thomson coefficient in second chapter, I couldn't find a solution to those that uses tools introduced in the book. The didactics are quite confusing and justifications for mathematical equations hard to follow.

I find https://www.amazon.com/Physical-Chemistry-Molecular-Donald-McQuarrie/dp/0935702997 and https://www.amazon.com/Introduction...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=FCPK7WSNPMY0QA6QZT2Q alot easier to read and understand.

I think Atkins doesn't have a chapter on surface chemistry.

5. Jan 3, 2018

### Demystifier

Atkins is physical chemistry for chemists, while the books you mention are written for physicists.

6. Jan 3, 2018

### Buffu

I don't think it matters, the subject is same.

7. Jan 3, 2018

### Wrichik Basu

Will check them out. Thanks!

Maybe. In my book, even pages in contents are missing. So I don't know exactly what is there and what is not.

It actually doesn't matter at all. I'm studying UG level topics in standard 11, so needless to say, there will be teachers in my school who won't know some of the topics in higher level books. My aim is to learn from a higher level book wherever possible, just for curiosity. But if the books differ from the perspective that @Buffu pointed out, I'd rather take the second set of books, though keeping both sets in hand won't be a problem.

8. Jan 3, 2018

### Demystifier

I think it helps to determine whether someone will like a certain book or not. Even if the subject is the same, the style, the level of difficulty and the assumed pre-knowledge are different.

9. Jan 3, 2018

### vanhees71

That may be true. We had to take a lecture in chemistry (either anorganic of physical chemistry, of course, I've chosen physical ;-)), and in the recitations it was not so easy to communicate with the tutors since we haven't had a common language. For them the Schrödinger equation was something else than what it was for us physicists etc.

10. Jan 3, 2018

### Demystifier

11. Jan 3, 2018

### Wrichik Basu

@Buffu: what @Demystifier says, is true in many cases. Approaches of study of same topic is different for physicists and chemists. For example, consider thermodynamics. The basics are same. But the physicist approach is to study Carnot Cycle, while the chemist approach is to study thermochmistry. There are numerous such examples.

In my case, however, it doesn't matter much, because I'm neither a physicist nor a chemist, but currently have to study a topic from both dimensions.

12. Jan 3, 2018

### vanhees71

I've seen it. It's pretty difficult. You have to start from scratch, and I don't think that you can do that within the format of an internet forum. You need to make him read a textbook thoroughly. The best we can do within the forum is to answer questions on things, he gets really stuck, but you cannot substitute reading the book or giving a lecture in person (although of course the student has to work out in any case for himself what's explained in the book or by a lecturer).

13. Jan 3, 2018

### Buffu

14. Jan 3, 2018

### Demystifier

If so, then why are the Atkins's books so popular among chemists?

15. Jan 3, 2018

### vanhees71

Hm, I found Atkins not that bad at the time when we used it accompanying our two-semester physical-chemistry lecture. However I also used a book by Brdicka (in German) which was more to my taste, because it was more on the theoretical side ;-)).

16. Jan 3, 2018

### Wrichik Basu

I don't think Atkins is that bad. Many professors recommend Atkins. I've myself attended many courses in chemistry where the lecturer has recommended Atkins, along with other books.

17. Jan 3, 2018

### Buffu

Yes it popular book but it is also hated by many. Take a look at this old PF thread, https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/atkins-physical-chemistry-book.314538/. For me, the worst part of the book is its problem selection, confusing didactics when dealing with Maths and lack of theoretical stuff.

I would compare Atkins to Purcell, many people like Purcell but some don't.

18. Jan 15, 2018 at 7:18 AM

### DrDu

I can recommend "Physical Chemistry" by Walter J. Moore.
I strongly disrecommend Atkins, as the author apparently has not understood thermodynamics himself. For example, he first defines temperature via gas thermometers, promising a more precise definition in later chapters. He then introduces entropy using his vague temperature concept, to finally define $T= \partial U/ \partial S$, which is a brilliant example of circular logic.

19. Jan 15, 2018 at 7:42 AM

### Wrichik Basu

I'll check out that book.

Thanks for the caution. I'm using Ira Levine for Thermodynamics and did not intend to read it from Atkins.

Can you comment on other chapters in Atkins, like Equilibria? Should I use that book for chapters barring Thermodynamics?

20. Jan 15, 2018 at 7:47 AM

### DrDu

I also didn't find the definitions of important quantities like the chemical potential, which forms the basis for the understanding of equilibria, very clear in Atkins. Ira Levine is a reasonable book as far as I remember. I think the explanation of equilibria in Moore is good.