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How importent is Chemistry in physics?

  1. Jan 10, 2012 #1
    I'd like to study Physics after Gymnasium (equivalent High School).
    How impotent is Chemistry in the different fields of physics? I still haven't decided which direction at all to do in physics, and I'm thinking what would be blocked by not doing Chemistry?

    I have Chemistry right not, but I'm doing terribly in it, and really do no enjoy it. My main problem is nothing seems very Mathematical or Logical, and it's just a collection of small "thumb-rules" for a lot of different cases. (At least at the current level I have it.) There's tons of stuff you have to remember, but not very good explonations.

    The time for choosing whether to upgrade Chemistry or just leave it behind is coming soon.
    I'd really like to just drop it, and forget it, but If I need it later in studying physics, I can't do that. I don't want to close any/to many doors!
    I think I'm very good in both mathematics and Physics.

    Thank you all very much in advance! :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2012 #2
    Not at all :) Just as unimportant as physics is to math, with the difference that physics can derive chemistry.

    I didn't have an obligatory course in chemistry at my university, but I think that some universities require their physics students to take at least one course in chemistry. You might want to check into that? But anyway, that doesn't seem like a big hurdle; such a course is often little more than a recap of high school chemistry.
  4. Jan 10, 2012 #3
    Research in physics and chemistry heavily overlap in many areas e.g. nanotechnology. In fact, many universities offer degrees in "Chemical Physics".

    Chemistry is an important subject, and it will keep doors open to you later down the line.

    In the research laboratory in which I work, about 10% of the people are mathematicians, 10% physicists, 60% engineers (process, chemical, mechanical) and 20% chemists.

    Everything overlaps. It's important that you get a broad education IMO. You never know where you might end up.

    The mathematics required to understand most of physical chemistry is probably far too advanced for you right now. That's why you have so little math in chemistry at highschool. But, isn't it the same in your physics class too?
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  5. Jan 10, 2012 #4
    It depends. Probably you do not need chemistry --beyond a general course-- to work in HEP, but you need a lot of chemistry to understand the physical properties of materials.

    There are also disciplines of chemistry that extend disciplines of physics. For instance, quantum chemistry adds chemical concepts and theories over a quantum mechanical base. Chemical thermodynamics extend thermodynamics to systems with variable chemical composition, reaction rate theory has applications beyond chemical reactions, many techniques of nuclear chemistry techniques are needed in nuclear physics, etcetera.

    Regarding the reason for which you are given little math in your introductory course in chemistry is because the mathematics needed to understand, even simple chemical phenomena, are very complex.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
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