Does Quantum Mechanics contain Physical Chem?

In summary, the conversation discusses the decision between taking Physical Chemistry or Quantum Mechanics as a course. P-Chem is a combination of Thermo and Quantum, but the latter is only a small part of what is covered in a proper QM course. P-Chem offers two levels - one focusing on thermo and one on quantum, while some schools offer a single course for both. The quantum semester of Pchem covers the basics of eigenfunctions, Schroedinger's equation, spin, etc., but not in as much depth as a standard two-semester quantum sequence in the physics department. Pchem may be beneficial for those interested in the application of QM to chemical systems, but for a deeper understanding, one would need to take physics classes
  • #1
I'm not sure whether to just take Physical Chemistry because I'm interested in it or should I just take Quantum Mechanics? I've already taken Thermodynamics and I heard P-Chem is Thermo and Quantum combined. Is Quantum more in-depth than P-chem?
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  • #2
P-Chem depends on some facts from Thermo and QM, but it's really a completely separate discipline. Depending on your university, the course of physical chemistry may or may not include all the necessary prerequisite knowledge of quantum mechanics (which is only a small part of what you'd learn in a proper QM course).
  • #3
What sort of stuff that's covered in P-Chem that's not covered in Quantum Mechanics (I plan on taking both Quantum Mechanics I&II if I don't take P-Chem). What are the advantages of taking P-Chem when you're taking going to take Quantum?

Thanks in advance!
  • #4
Most chemistry departments offer two "levels" of Pchem. For chemistry majors there's usually a two semester sequence, one semester focusing on the thermo/stat mech side and one on quantum chemistry. For (most) biology majors and sometimes some chem majors (e.g., BA students at schools that have a BA/BS distinction) there's often a single course that covers some of both, though with a heavy emphasis on the thermo. So first you need to see specifically what's covered in the courses at your school.

The quantum semester of Pchem will indeed not be nearly as deep as a standard two semester quantum sequence in the physics department. It will cover the basics of eigenfunctions, Schroedinger's equation, the hydrogen atom, spin, etc., but with a focus on chemically relevant issues. Thus it will not typically include detailed explorations of angular momentum/spin physics, uncertainty relations, multi-particle quantum systems (except in the specific context of atoms), scattering, fancy calculational methods, etc., not to mention the deeper aspects like symmetries and conservation laws.

Which isn't to say that Pchem is worthless to the physics major -- if you're interested in quantum mechanics as it's applied to chemical systems, then the quantum semester of Pchem may be worth it to you, just as the thermo semester of Pchem will cover some chemical applications of what you learned in physics thermo.
  • #5
in particular to "applied chemical systems", a large section of that is spectroscopy.
and when you model things like resonance, you can say its a "particle in a box" and how a larger area is "better" (you'll see it...)

if you want to do "real quantum", you either need to take physics classes or graduate p-chem classes. that's what I am doing...

1. Does Quantum Mechanics involve chemistry?

Yes, Quantum Mechanics is a branch of physics that deals with the behavior of matter and energy on a very small scale, such as atoms and subatomic particles. Since chemistry is the study of matter and its properties, quantum mechanics is an essential part of understanding chemical processes.

2. How does Quantum Mechanics explain chemical bonding?

Quantum Mechanics uses mathematical equations and models to describe the behavior of electrons in atoms and molecules. These equations can be used to explain the forces that hold atoms together in a chemical bond, such as the sharing or transfer of electrons.

3. Can Quantum Mechanics predict chemical reactions?

While Quantum Mechanics can provide a theoretical understanding of chemical processes, it is not designed to predict the outcome of specific reactions. Other factors such as temperature, pressure, and concentration also play a role in determining the products of a chemical reaction.

4. How does Quantum Mechanics relate to Physical Chemistry?

Physical Chemistry is a branch of chemistry that applies physical principles and techniques to the study of chemical systems. Since Quantum Mechanics is the foundation of our understanding of the physical world, it is a crucial component of Physical Chemistry, particularly in areas such as spectroscopy and thermodynamics.

5. Is a background in Quantum Mechanics necessary for studying Physical Chemistry?

While a basic understanding of Quantum Mechanics is beneficial for studying Physical Chemistry, it is not always a prerequisite. Many Physical Chemistry courses will cover the necessary concepts from Quantum Mechanics as they are needed. However, a deeper understanding of Quantum Mechanics may be required for more advanced topics within Physical Chemistry.

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