Importance of Physical Chemistry to Chemical Kinetics and Chemistry As a Whole

Importance of Physical Chemistry to Chemical Kinetics and Chemistry As a Whole

I got a question from a young person who became enthralled with chemical responses (kinetics) and decided to pursue a career in chemistry. He asked what Physical Chemistry is about. This is part of my answer. Physical chemistry underpins all of Chemistry. We hear a lot about health, pollution, green chemistry in the news, and these areas are close to Organic chemistry. In fact a lot of people think that Organic Chemistry is Chemistry.

Physical chemistry covers:

· Thermodynamics-heat, work, spontaneity and there relations

· Equilibrium-the apparent without of change of a system

· Phase Relations-the changes from substantial, liquid and gases, and conditions for their formation

· Gas Kinetics-the gas laws, and the their dependence of intermolecular forces

· Electrochemistry-the study of oxidation and reduction

· Chemical Kinetics-the study of the rates of chemical change

· Quantum Mechanics-the mechanics that governs microscopic particles

· Spectroscopy (including NMR)-the use of light to understand structure and dynamics

· Solids, Liquids and Gases

· Transport similarities-fluid dynamics, viscosity, thermal conductivity etc of substances


· Statistical Mechanics-relates the microscopic similarities to the macroscopic observables.

That pretty much shows you how important Physical Chemistry is to the other branches of chemistry.

If you are studying to be a Physical Chemist, the subject of Physical Chemistry can help you specialize in other areas of chemistry like Chemical Kinetics which is about the rates or speeds that responses take place.

As an undergrad, you cover most of the topics above. A Bachelors of Science in Chemistry prepares you for all branches.

In grad school you can specialize to Reaction, or Chemical, Kinetics. A talk with an adviser will help one understand the courses you need for a BSc.

Professor Keith Laidler is a well known Chemical Kineticist who has authored many books on the subject. The Physical Chemistry ebook has been co-authored by Professor Laidler, along with John Meiser and me. It contains good study materials on Chemical kinetics from the starting definitions of rates, rate laws and half lives, up to the important mechanisms in modern chemistry, and which are applicable to many processes from organic responses to Nano Technology. The important theories of the rate continued, such as Hard Sphere Collisions and change State Theory give a comprehensive treatment of Kinetics.

Professor K. Laidler wrote the Kinetics module in the book. In addition to the clearly written material, vivid figures and many worked examples, the user can listen to explanations and interact with the multimedia. All these items are all a click away, and allow the student to learn Physical Chemistry efficiently, and meets the modern needs of those who have grown up with computers.

leave your comment