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How is Physics different from Chemistry?

  1. Jan 27, 2004 #1
    Say if a student were to go from an AP chemistry class to an AP physics class next year, what can he expect?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2004 #2
    Please help, I would like to make a solid decision before tommorrow.
  4. Jan 28, 2004 #3
    Almost entirely new material. The only thing even remotely simliar will be the parts on quantum theory and wave nature of matter covered in AP Chem. That stuff is physics, but everything else is entirely different.
  5. Jan 28, 2004 #4

    Tom Mattson

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    I always hated chemistry. There always seemed to be more exceptions than rules. "Carbon only bonds with 4 partners....except when it bonds with 5, like in these 134 instances..."

    One of the things I always liked about physics is that the entire subject is developed from just a few axioms. You get Newton's three laws, and (with some math) you can find the motion of so many different systems.

    I guess the big difference is that in physics you will have to do a lot less memorization, and a lot more analysis and problem solving.
  6. Jan 28, 2004 #5
    Other than the quantum theory/wave nature that was previously mentioned, I guess stuff like properties of gases (ideal gas law & kinetics of gases) should be familiar. In chemistry I believe the main thing dealing with gases is the stoichiometry of elements/compounds.
  7. Jan 28, 2004 #6


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    We does whats we can wiff what da physicists gives us to work wiff.......

    Physics vs. chem? Detailed descriptions and analyses of simpler, or cleaner, systems; no hiding behind "insufficient information."
  8. Jan 28, 2004 #7
    You may have heard different versions of this before:

    Chemistry is the 'why' behind psychology...

    Physics is the 'why' behind chemistry...

    Mathematics is the 'why' behind physics...

    Philosophy is the 'why' behind math...

    Other heirarchies try to place physics as somewhere in between engineering and pure math.

    I prefer to think of it this way:

    Science literally means 'stuff that can be known.' As opposed to what, I wonder?

    Gradually, we've carved off little chunks of 'science' and given them names:

    botany: study of all plants
    ornithology: study of all birds
    neurology: study of the brain
    chemistry: study of chemical interactions

    Physics is, briefly, everything that's left!

    So while AP Chemistry deals with 'the study of chemicals,' physics will deal with everything that moves, uses energy, produces light, reflects light, attracts or repels other things, or affects the temperature of its surroundings. This includes a comprehensive study of electrons, molecules, cellular membranes, mosquitoes, cows (typically of the spherical, frictionless variety), elephants, continents, planets, stars, and spiral arms of galaxies, among other things.

    I hope you have a good instructor; if you do you'll fall in love with the subject.

  9. Jan 28, 2004 #8
    Yeah ... the universe sucks, doesn't it? We should redesign it.
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