How much Chemistry in Physics

  • Thread starter DeepSpace9
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  • #26
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Also, Chemistry does deal with protons, one of the first things I was taught was that you can identify an element based on how many protons are in it.

Yes, protons ARE involved in a discussion of chemistry, but it's more to do with the electrons than the nucleus, when it comes to chemical reactions. I can't think of any chemistry that would require understanding of protons on the fundamental level in which particle physics handles them. It would be akin to saying that since understanding of electrons and charge flow is essential to electrical engineering, that you need a strong background in EE to understand Maxwell's equations or quantum electrodynamics.

Here's the line you'll want to draw: chemistry deals with atoms and molecules, in an attempt to understand how they react with other atoms and molecules. The fact that there are protons in these atoms and molecules is of little importance. The electrons are of importance insomuch as it's important to understand how these electrons are configured in an atom in order to understand why atoms and molecules can bond with one another in chemical reactions.

Particle physics asks more fundamental and existential questions about electrons and protons: Where do they come from? What gives them mass? Do they decay? What decay processes produce electrons and protons? Are there antimatter or supersymmetric partners to the electron and proton? How can we make electrons and protons interact in such a way as to create other particles we want to know more about? etc, etc. The science behind these questions is VERY different than the science behind chemistry. Being an expert in particle physics would not really help you be a good chemist and vice-versa.
 
  • #27
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Yes, protons ARE involved in a discussion of chemistry, but it's more to do with the electrons than the nucleus, when it comes to chemical reactions. I can't think of any chemistry that would require understanding of protons on the fundamental level in which particle physics handles them. It would be akin to saying that since understanding of electrons and charge flow is essential to electrical engineering, that you need a strong background in EE to understand Maxwell's equations or quantum electrodynamics.

Here's the line you'll want to draw: chemistry deals with atoms and molecules, in an attempt to understand how they react with other atoms and molecules. The fact that there are protons in these atoms and molecules is of little importance. The electrons are of importance insomuch as it's important to understand how these electrons are configured in an atom in order to understand why atoms and molecules can bond with one another in chemical reactions.

Particle physics asks more fundamental and existential questions about electrons and protons: Where do they come from? What gives them mass? Do they decay? What decay processes produce electrons and protons? Are there antimatter or supersymmetric partners to the electron and proton? How can we make electrons and protons interact in such a way as to create other particles we want to know more about? etc, etc. The science behind these questions is VERY different than the science behind chemistry. Being an expert in particle physics would not really help you be a good chemist and vice-versa.

Very good answer, thank you. I clearly now know the difference, and won't stress my chemistry class as much now, since it is a lesser sub set of physics.
 
  • #28
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Very good answer, thank you. I clearly now know the difference, and won't stress my chemistry class as much now, since it is a lesser sub set of physics.

lol what? you have trouble with chemistry but now someone changes the definition of chemistry and now you're an expert and can suddenly do all the problems? like i said before, the best way to solve your problems is not to ask for reassurance here but to talk to a counselor or talk to the professor about how to do the homework .
 
  • #29
Borek
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won't stress my chemistry class as much now, since it is a lesser sub set of physics.

BAN HIM!!!
 
  • #30
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Very good answer, thank you. I clearly now know the difference, and won't stress my chemistry class as much now, since it is a lesser sub set of physics.

Haha! I wouldn't say Chemistry is a lesser sub set of Physics. I hope you didn't get that opinion from me. I wanted to convey to you that Chemistry is of less importance to a Physicist, not that chemistry was of lesser importance in the grand scheme of things.

Of course, I still feel Physics is better than Chemistry, but I'm biased :tongue:

Also, what chill_factor said: If Chemistry was a lesser branch of Physics, wouldn't you be having an easier time with it? It's still a very difficult subject, as you know firsthand.
 
  • #31
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I don't care how much chemistry a physicist knows, I certainly WOULD NOT want a physicist anywhere near being in charge of making my medicine.

Two separate fields. What's all the fuss?
 
  • #32
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lol what? you have trouble with chemistry but now someone changes the definition of chemistry and now you're an expert and can suddenly do all the problems? like i said before, the best way to solve your problems is not to ask for reassurance here but to talk to a counselor or talk to the professor about how to do the homework .

I said I won't stress it as much anymore, I didn't say "I'm an expert and can now figure out all chemistry problems."
 

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