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Physical Chemistry by Peter Atkins

  1. Strongly Recommend

  2. Lightly Recommend

  3. Lightly don't Recommend

  4. Strongly don't Recommend

  1. Jan 19, 2013 #1
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 26, 2013 #2
    As far as P chem books go this one is ok but I generally find p chem books bad. It's as if someone decided to teach thermodynamics, stat mech, classical mechanics, e&m and applications in one physics book. Crazy right?
  4. Jan 28, 2013 #3
    Professor Atkins is the author of the moment in physical chemistry and he has produced some cracking chemistry books in the past.

    However users of this one should be aware that it has undergone several major revisions so should be careful which edition they refer to.

    Many of the examples are biochemical, which is unusual in a physical chemistry book, but in keeping with the modern advances in biochemistry and very welcome.

    On balance, I prefer the previous generation book from Oxford by Moelwyn-Hughes or the one by W Moore, both of which I would give outstanding to.

    This I would only rate as good.
  5. Jan 29, 2013 #4


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    I much prefer Walter J. Moores, Physical Chemistry over Atkins.
    The reasoning in Atkins is not very clear and sometimes circular: E.g. he starts to motivate absolute temperature using the ideal gas law and promises to give a precise definition of absolute temperature later. Then he introduces entropy as ##S=\vardelta Q/T## for reversible processes and finally sais that now we can define temperature as ##T=\partial U/\partial S##.
  6. Jan 29, 2013 #5
    Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach by McQuarrie is better.

    I did not like Atkin's book, just the overall feeling was bad. Many things were not explained rigorously especially in the QM section.

    In addition I also believe that Pchem should be split into 4 classes: 2 in quantum chemistry (QM + spectroscopy) and 2 in thermal science (thermodynamics + stat mech). Trying to teach these disparate subjects in 1 book is not going to go well.
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