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Which physics for physical chemistry?

  1. Dec 24, 2017 #1
    Hey guys,

    I was wondering if algebra based physics will be useful or I will be in a disadvantage? I’m doing a minor in chemsitry and math. So I’m not sure when I will take PCHEM. Probably after partial differential equations I will take it. I’m hoping to take it in fall 2019 or spring 2020.im a tranafer student who recently changed major to biology.


    NOTE: I’m asking becaaue I will be taking general physics 1 and 2 in the summer 2018
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2017 #2


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    I would recommend calculus-based physics. You will have more than enough math background for that and the physical concepts will be easier for you to grasp. People like you with a strong math background are sometimes baffled by the subterfuges that are used in algebra-based physics courses to get around the calculus; they don't see what's going on until it's explained to them using calculus. I saw this happen when I taught an algebra-based course. Once I used calculus to explain the same ideas, the students immediately "saw the light". So you might as well do it right from the beginning. In my opinion, algebra-based intro physics courses are easier only for those who have no calculus background.
  4. Dec 25, 2017 #3
    The problem is that my professor at the university didn’t really use calculus for the physics class. I took the calculus based physics and I didn’t learn nothing. I got a bad grade (F) that’s because I didn’t have the resources and help. My mom already hired a tutor for me to go over from Scratch starting chapter 1 and hopefully end by chapter 3. I could take the calculus based physics again, but will it benefit me from taking the same professor twice?
  5. Dec 25, 2017 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    I think you have bigger issues than just what class to take. You don't like Halliday and Resnick, you don't like your professor, Mommy hired a tutor and you still failed, somehow unlike the students who passed, you didn't have "the necessary resources and help" (I note in passing you have made zero posts in the homework help section), and yet you want to transfer into Penn State (an extrfemely difficult transfer), and you've been on about this for two years.

    I think you need to understand why what you are doing isn't working.
  6. Dec 25, 2017 #5
    I actually transferred to University At Albany. This was my first time I took Physics and sat through the class. I did take Physics at my community college but withdrew because my calculus wasn't very good. Now 2017, I finished calculus 2 this semester and going to calculus 3. There are students out there who don't have their parents support. I'm very glad and appreciate that I have parents that care for me. I just don't want to pass physics and get a good grade. I want to understand and see how physics plays a role in Biology.

    I'm now in majoring biology with a minor in chemistry and math.
  7. Dec 25, 2017 #6
    My biology major requires the algebra-based physics.
  8. Dec 25, 2017 #7


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    Then take what your major requires. You don't really need calculus to investigate the role that Physics plays in Biology.
  9. Dec 25, 2017 #8
    I'm interested in taking PCHEM because having a minor in chemistry who is interested in going to grad school for Atmospheric chemistry or chemistry. Some schools require PCHEM
  10. Dec 25, 2017 #9


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    What do you get when you follow the chain of prerequisites for your university's PCHEM course?

    Does your university require chemistry majors to take algebra/trig-based physics or calculus-based physics?
  11. Dec 26, 2017 #10
    When I was a chemistry major I had to take the calculus-based physics. However, I think if I talk to the professor who teaches PHCEM. If I can take the Algebra-based physics. That way I don't get behind because if i wait to retake the calculus-based physics it won't be until fall 2018.
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