1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Would taking a chemistry class help with physics?

  1. Jan 14, 2015 #1
    Ah ha! So I was looking through the physics classes I will have to take and noticed a lot of topics dealing with atoms and the like. Would it benefit me to take the first installment of basic Chemistry? I don't want to take the lab portion just the lecture section if it would be a tremendous help for what's to come.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2015 #2
    What topics/classes?
     
  4. Jan 14, 2015 #3
    The three in concerned about are Modern Physics, Statistical and Thermal Physics and Quantum Mechanics. I see lots of "particle" and "atomic" in the descriptions
     
  5. Jan 14, 2015 #4

    phinds

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    Well, if you do, good luck w/ that. I loved just about ever course I ever took but I really hated chem 101. Personally, I'd avoid it like the plague :smile:
     
  6. Jan 14, 2015 #5

    phinds

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    I'm not sure that chem would add as much as you might think since it's mostly about the interactions of the atoms/molecules rather than stuff like QM, but my dislike of the subject may be clouding my memory/judgement.
     
  7. Jan 14, 2015 #6

    SteamKing

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Well, chemistry doesn't deal with too many particles, except electrons and protons and how they interact in forming chemical compounds. And 'atomic', well, pretty much everything chemical boils down to atoms in combination.

    It's pretty much why chemistry and physics, especially atomic physics and particle physics, are all different subjects. There's some different degrees of overlap amongst them, but there's nothing special in a chemistry class which will not be covered in the physics classes you'll take.
     
  8. Jan 14, 2015 #7
    My experience is much the same as those above. Though some topics will be covered in both (e.g., nuclear physics, a small amount of thermodynamics, and atomic structure), taking a chemistry class to prepare for quantum mechanics is like taking a high school class in world history to prepare for a 300-level college class in eastern European 20th century politics.
     
  9. Jan 15, 2015 #8

    QuantumCurt

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    I took a two semester General Chemistry sequence and I've found it to be beneficial. We've since covered topics in physics that were also covered in chemistry such as thermodynamics. I'm taking Physics III (Modern Physics) this semester, and some of the topics are the kinetic theory of gasses and more thermodynamics, which were both covered in chemistry. We're covering light and optics this semester, and the light spectrum was covered in chemistry. It's not necessarily that having covered some topics in chemistry made it 'easier' to learn them in physics, but it has been helpful to see the topics approached from different perspectives. I enjoyed chemistry for its own merits as well, which could contribute to my take on it. I don't think it's strictly necessary for a physics major to take general chemistry, but I'm definitely glad that I did.

    You may not be able to take the lecture without a lab. At my school, a lab component is required for the both semesters of the sequence. I always enjoyed my chem labs though, and I think more lab experience is always helpful.
     
  10. Jan 15, 2015 #9

    462chevelle

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    In my experience knowing physics has helped me more in chemistry than knowing chemistry would help me in physics. If you want to do a chemistry that might help with physics take physical chemistry1-2. Although you will have to take gen chem1-2 and possible organic 1.
     
  11. Jan 15, 2015 #10
    IMO not taking chemistry as a physics major would be ridiculous. You need to have knowledge of basic terms and some insight into how stuff works.
     
  12. Jan 16, 2015 #11
    It would help, just not with physics.
     
  13. Jan 17, 2015 #12

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    NO.
    Learn Mathematics and some Physics, first, if still possible. You could learn some Chemistry before Physics, but much of Chemistry knowledge relies on Physics.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook