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Should a physics major take general chemistry?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I’ve already taken intro chemistry with a lab, and general chemistry 1. Unlike most universities, my college doesn’t require chemistry for physics majors. Should I take general chemistry 2? Would it really benefit me, or should I spend my time elsewhere?
Edit: I’m referring to the standard general chemistry curriculum used in the U.S.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #3
Can you mention the syllabus for general chemistry 2?
I actually don’t know. It’s the standard general chemistry curriculum thats used in the U.S. It’s often a prerequisite for organic chemistry and physical chemistry.
 
  • #5
What topics are covered in general chemistry 1?
Lewis structures, molecular orbital theory, light and matter, reactions, stoichiometry, ideal gases/real gases, phases, molecular shapes/VSEPR theory, polarity of molecules, intermolecular forces, acids and bases.
 
  • #6
symbolipoint
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I’ve already taken intro chemistry with a lab, and general chemistry 1. Unlike most universities, my college doesn’t require chemistry for physics majors. Should I take general chemistry 2? Would it really benefit me, or should I spend my time elsewhere?
Edit: I’m referring to the standard general chemistry curriculum used in the U.S.
YES.
 
  • #7
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If you like it, take it. It will be interesting... helpful may be a stretch. If you don't it definitely wont be detrimental in any way.
 
  • #8
CrysPhys
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I’ve already taken intro chemistry with a lab, and general chemistry 1. Unlike most universities, my college doesn’t require chemistry for physics majors. Should I take general chemistry 2? Would it really benefit me, or should I spend my time elsewhere?
Edit: I’m referring to the standard general chemistry curriculum used in the U.S.
<<Emphasis added>> Your question needs to be placed within the context of where your interests lie and what else you could take instead of Gen Chem 2. For example, if you were interested in pursuing condensed matter/solid-state/materials physics, more chem would be useful. But you just posted another thread in which you stated you want to pursue computational astrophysics. In which case, something else would probably be more useful.
 
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  • #9
Dr. Courtney
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It is required of a Physics major in many schools. But there may be good reason why it is not at your institution. Perhaps there is enough overlap between the content of General Chemistry 2 and other courses, that it is not needed.

Of course, there may be some specialties within Physics where taking it would still be advisable.
 
  • #10
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The more time you can spend working in a lab the better, especially if it has high standards for writing reports. Writing skills are really lacking among college students these days so a gen chem lab is a good way to build that skill. Doing experiments is good too just for refining your experimental skills as well. You should sign up for it.
 
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  • #11
symbolipoint
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The more time you can spend working in a lab the better, especially if it has high standards for writing reports. Writing skills are really lacking among college students these days so a gen chem lab is a good way to build that skill. Doing experiments is good too just for refining your experimental skills as well. You should sign up for it.
I half-way agree with Marisa5. For sure learning to write good formal lab reports is important, but the General Chemistry course is not likely to depend on the student learning to write these. Lab reports in General Chemistry are more likely to be answering some technical questions and displaying data and computing results or determining results and may require other requested comments from the student. Some Chem courses beyond General Chemistry will require formal lab reports with abstract, introduction discussion, experimental description section including list of materials and equipment, discussion of results, data and charts and graphs, and conclusion sections.

Physics undergraduates would not ordinarily need more than one year of General Chemistry, but in any case, good writing skills and experience would come from other than Chemistry courses for them(the Phys students).
 

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