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What background for PChem?

  1. Aug 3, 2012 #1
    I want to take PChem, but I'm wondering if I should wait until I have a deeper understanding of quantum mechanics and electricity and magnetism. I've seen QM in a modern physics class and I've taken a sophomore level E&M class. I've got my calculus down pretty well, and I've taken two semesters of gen chem and two of Ochem.

    Any advice on recommended background would be appreciated. I'm looking to get as much out of the class as possible (and to also not struggle the whole way through), so I'm not opposed to waiting a few semesters. I do have an opening in my upcoming schedule, however, so I thought that I should do it if I'm ready.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2012 #2
    that background is good. go for it.
  4. Aug 5, 2012 #3
    That sounds fine.

    Remember, p.chem. (in general) is aimed at all aspiring chemists, not just those who harbor the notion of becoming a p. chemist/theoretician later on in life. It will (hopefully) be taught at an appropriately challenging level to set you up well for further classes (and, ideally, serve as a nice complement for those who are doing additional courses/study in physics). The other thing to keep in mind is that while the general breakdown in p.chem. is "a semester of thermo and a semester of quantum," you also will (typically) get additional exposure to chemical kinetics, some spectroscopic methods, a dash of computational chemistry, and some surfaces/solid state chemistry.
  5. Aug 6, 2012 #4
    Thanks for the advice. I've heard that PChem can be pretty time-intensive, so I'm still on the fence, but it's good to know that it should be manageable with a sophomore level physics and chemistry background.

    I wonder, is it generally considered a pretty tough chemistry class? I'm deciding between two math or one math and one pchem class next semester
  6. Aug 6, 2012 #5
    It's a pretty tough chemistry course for most chemistry majors who avoid math and physics.

    It's really not that hard.
  7. Aug 6, 2012 #6
    Concur. Having said that, the one thing that might make it fairly time-intensive is the nature of the laboratory component. This is less a statement about the difficulty of the material and more about the nature of doing reasonably acceptable laboratory work.

    While I learned a great deal in p.chem. lab, it definitely took up more time than its ostensible credit hours would suggest........
  8. Aug 8, 2012 #7
    Thanks for the words of wisdom. I'm definitely not put-off by the idea of using math and physics in chemistry.

    Honestly, I'm not sure at this point if there is a lab for this class or not. It is the "higher-level" pchem, and the schedule does not seem to mention a lab. Is it unheard of to offer pchem without a lab?

    It would probably require a lot less time and effort to take this class without the burden of doing detailed reports. Then again, perhaps I would learn a lot less without hands-on experience. Any thoughts on that?
  9. Aug 8, 2012 #8
    At my school there's an optional lab. At other schools the lab is required. If you want to learn more, take the lab. It is worth your while and a hell of alot more useful than labs like inorganic synthesis. You might actually use the knowledge in that lab on the job, as opposed to the synthesis labs which you'll probably never use again.
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