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Chemistry Major: Am I on track for Physical Chem?

  1. Aug 24, 2012 #1
    So I am a Chemistry major, but am behind on my math (was a Biology major but switched because I decided I would rather minor in Biology so as to avoid the boring plant and evolution/ecology stuff, plus I love Chemistry lol) and so am only taking calculus II this coming semester. My adviser wants me to take P-Chem II before P-Chem I so I can graduate on time and as far as the math goes, I will have to take Calc III concurrently with pchem II. The question is will I be okay for pchem?
    If not what should I study so that I am? Also, I have been studying Calc (up to integration by parts, not very far, I know, but I work two jobs so finding the time is very difficult) and a little bit of Linear Algebra. Right now my battle plan is to keep on studying Linear Algebra this semester and then study differential equations during the winter and through the spring semester. Is this a good plan? If not then how, if possible, can I improve it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2012 #2
    Assuming you are the statistically average student, this sounds like a bad idea. Physical chemistry professors do not usually assume as much familiarity and comfort with calculus as is generally expected of an upper division physics course but it will be assumed you have at least taken calculus and probably differential equations.

    Is p-chem II quantum or thermodynamics? If it is thermodynamics it will probably be doable as thermodynamics 'mainly' requires total differentials, partial differentiation and basic integration.

    If you want to do physical chemistry, calculus and physical chemistry are a core part of your undergraduate education. It won't do you many favors in the long run rushing through them.

    Could you post a syllabus?
  4. Aug 24, 2012 #3
    Calc 3 is mostly multivariable and vector calculus. You'll probably need some multivariable calculus to do thermodynamics. Knowing integration rules and some linear algebra (basically eigenvalue problems and matrix arithmetic) is necessary for quantum mechanics.

    If you are going to be doing linear algebra and diffEQ RIGHT NOW and then do physical chemistry next year, it is doable. There's little vector calculus in physical chemistry, just multivariable calculus.

    Also depends on the book you use. Some books (Atkins) are easier than others (McQuarrie and Levine).
  5. Aug 24, 2012 #4
    This is what I could find online as I am not taking the course right now and my school does not give us any syllabi and/or other info ,except for the books we need to buy, until literally the last minute this is all I can do. Thanks for the help

    Attached Files:

  6. Aug 24, 2012 #5
    Well there's a place to start, how comfortable are you with the following?

    (1) work with operators, vectors and wavefunctions; (2) perform integration in various coordinate systems; (3) identify symmetry elements and point groups of molecules.
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