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References for Self-Study

  1. Apr 10, 2013 #1
    Hi all. So I study math and physics now after switching majors from chemistry. Most everything that held my fascination in chemistry was more rooted in physics and quite frankly inorganic and organic chemistry made me seriously consider living as a hermit in the frozen tundra of Alaska.

    I'm still in my inorganic class and I'm having alot of problems. We've gone over coordination compounds and complexes, using character tables and assigning labels to orbitals, now we're into crystal field theory and determining whether reactions will occur spontaneously in nature based off redox reactions and thermochem calculations. I really just don't understand it. We're not really taught WHY these things are the way they are, we're taught the shortcuts of how to figure it out and then solve a problem. Only thing is, that method makes no sense to me so I don't see the point in even attempting the work when in the end I really learn nothing from it.

    The content that we cover is huge and in depth but we really spend no time on any of the topics that should be stresed. We've covered ligand field stabilization energy and gibbs free energy, electric potential something or other, breaking apart redox reactions into half reactions, yet I don't even know why we do it! She just told us how. Shoot, I still don't know how to determine the shape of the orbital lobes cause all I've ever been told is that when you have this electronic configuration, look at this picture. If I knew the rationale behind it, and I know it's more advanced and deals with quantum mechanics, I'd be better able to piece it together and understand it. Otherwise I don't see the point in just memorizing it.

    So now after this looooong winded rant, my question really is just does anyone have suggestions on reading material, websites or videos that I could look into to get a better understanding of this? I swear I'm gonna fail this course and I've aced all my other chem courses. I've seen a couple Dover books on quantum theory with applications to chemistry for undegrads that seemed kind of promising, but that's only part of the issue. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2013 #2


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    I feel your pain. Upper division inorganic was not taught well when I was in school either. At first I thought the terrible instruction was due to my professor's unwillingness to spoon-feed us information but I eventually came to the conclusion that the prof didn't understand it well enough herself to do even a passable job teaching. Have you tried to read the textbook? Most have references for the original work that usually clears up difficulties.
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