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How valuable would physical chem 1 and 2 be for a physics major?

  1. Aug 3, 2005 #1
    technically, I only need one or the other to pick up my chem minor, but I might take both. How valuable would they be to a physics major planning to go to graduate school?

    I would like to take them both, but would grad schools care all that much? I am honestly not sure where I want to do research when in grad school, so I guess it could depend....

    But what is your take on this? should I just take the course or will it be a waste of time? keep in mind that I am taking one or the other regardless to finish my chem minor....

    edit: and sorry for all of the damn threads I have been starting lately...I just have lots of questions I guess....and it's hard to find advisors during the summer. :tongue2:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2005 #2

    yeah, seriously. i'm going to have to wait a few more weeks before asking around about those statistics courses...

    after all is said and done, i'd re-ask your questions to the relevant advisers.

    can't help ya with this chem stuff... but i guess posting the course descriptions would help other people?
  4. Aug 3, 2005 #3
    good point.

    physical chem 1:
    "Prerequisites: Calculus 3, U. Physics 2, Organic Chem 2. The First and Second Laws of Thermo- dynamics, with applications to phase transformations and chemical reactions. Introduction to quantum theory.
    Lect. 3 hrs. 3 hours credit"

    physical chem 2:
    "Prerequisites: Calculus 3, U. Physics 2, Organic Chem 2. Atomic and molecular structure and spectra. Statistical Thermodynamics. Kinetic theory of gases and chemical kinetics.
    Lect. 4 hrs. 4 hours credit
    Note: physical chem 1 and physical chem 2 are independent courses and can be taken in either order."

    edit: here's the thermal physics course too. Normally I'd have to take this, but the natsci. chair said he'd waive it if I took both physical chem 1 and 2. I might take it anyways, in addition to the pchem 1/2.

    Thermal physics:
    Prerequisite: Contemporary physics. Logical discussion of entropy, temperature, the Boltzman factor, the chemical potential, the Gibbs factor, distribution functions,
    semiconductor statistics, heat and work.
    Lect. 3 hrs. 3 hours credit
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2005
  5. Aug 4, 2005 #4
    Come on, there's gotta be a chemical physicist on here somewhere...
  6. Aug 4, 2005 #5


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    If ya gotta ask, it ain't gonna do ya a damned bit of good. - the P-chemmer.
  7. Aug 4, 2005 #6
    P chem should just really be called chemical physics. at the heart of pchem is just thermodynamics and quantum theory with a tad bit more of chemistry than what you would learn if say you took thermo and qm in physics. if the physics dept would let you take Pchem I and II instead of a semester of thermo and qm it would definitely be worth it if you also had some interest in chemistry. other than that you don't want to take the same material twice.
  8. Aug 4, 2005 #7
    No, I could take pchem 1 and 2 instead of thermal physics....but not instead of BOTH thermal physics and qm.

    I plan on taking qm, pchem 1 and 2, and thermal physics. I just need pchem 1 for my chem minor, but I may tack on pchem 2 just for the hell of it.
  9. Aug 6, 2005 #8
    oh come on....what kind of advice is this? :rolleyes:
  10. Aug 6, 2005 #9
    the best kind. :cool:

  11. Aug 6, 2005 #10
    I'm a sophomore physics student. Not like I know what physical chem consists of....
  12. Aug 6, 2005 #11

    i was kidding. :tongue:
  13. Aug 7, 2005 #12


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    You're asking this forum what courses to use to pad your transcript, rather than yourself what you can learn and want to learn. That's what kinda advice that is.
  14. Aug 7, 2005 #13
    yes, part of the reason I am asking is to determine if it is a good transcript padder....sure. But I am also wondering how a typical physical chemistry course is structured, beyond a simple course description in a course catalog. Is it structured like a typical chemistry course taught to chemistry majors, but with a focus on qm and thermodynamics principles (meaning, physics APPLIED to chemistry), OR is it structured more like a physics course with a little chemistry thrown in?

    Basically, are the ways in which the concepts are layed out useful to a physics student, or are they just useful to a chemistry student.

    Unlike you, I haven't been exposed to any physical chemistry so I am unsure what to expect. Therefore, this is a reasonable question to ask.....
  15. Aug 7, 2005 #14


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    Nothing outside a departmental course in physics is ever useful to a physics student. (sarcasm off) You ain't interested in learning a damned thing; you're planning on putting in "seat time" for a Ph.D.; and you want approval from outside sources? You'd best sit down with your advisors in both departments and have a "heart to heart."

    "Seat time" without learning and padding in transcripts will get you a long way in management, politics, and other fraudulent endeavors --- it goes nowhere in the sciences.
  16. Aug 7, 2005 #15

    :rolleyes: My goal of going to school is to learn, because I truly enjoy learning about the subject matter. Just to let you know...I am taking the physical chemistry course whether it is 'useful' to a physicist or not, because I believe that the course will be interesting. Trust me, the most important thing to me is that I learn, and padding my transcript to get into grad school certainly takes a back seat.

    Also, financial endeavors have nothing to do with me wanting to attend graduate school. You are making a lot of nasty assumptions, which are very offensive. Making blind assumptions also goes nowhere in the sciences.
  17. Aug 8, 2005 #16


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    Your original post is just "Look, Ma, no hands!" then? Someone please spoil the movie for me? Tell me whether the butler did it?

    Didn't have to make any assumptions --- what you did NOT say in the OP is a very dead giveaway. You did get around to making the appropriate remarks in the last post --- fine, day late and dollar short, but you get the picture.

    QM for a physicist vs. QM for a chemist? Matrix methods vs. Schroedinger. Thermo? Statistical methods vs. classical thermo.

    QM? Neither approach includes a clear statement of limits (H and H-like ions), and damned few physics majors are ever prepared to admit that. Thermo? Physicists fail to admit the statistical arguments are "hand-waving" rationalizations of the thermo; chemists don't get into the details of classical thermo much beyond Gibbs.

    Physical approaches vs. chemical approaches? Both have severe shortcomings. Taking both approaches as an undergrad? Talk with your advisor.
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