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Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach Hardcover – July 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0935702996 ISBN-10: 0935702997 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


Pedagogically pleasing, as it builds up physical chemistry from considerations of atoms to systems containing numerous molecules. --Choice

It is a superb book, to be greatly appreciated and treasured by generations of students to come. --Richard Zare, Stanford University

An excellent modern physical chemistry course that should inspire us to rethink our curriculum. --Journal of Chemical Education

About the Author

As the author of landmark chemistry books and textbooks, Donald McQuarrie's name is synonymous with excellence in chemical education. From his classic text on Statistical Mechanics to his recent quantum-first tour de force on Physical Chemistry, McQuarrie's best selling textbooks are highly acclaimed by the chemistry community. McQuarrie received his PhD from the University of Oregon, and is Professor Emeritus from the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Davis. He makes his home at The Sea Ranch in California with his wife Carole, where he continues to write. 

John D. Simon became the first George B. Geller Professor of Chemistry at Duke University in 1998. He is currently Chair Chemistry Department at Duke and a faculty member of the Biochemistry, and Ophthalmology Departments of the Duke Medical Center. John graduated from Williams College in 1979 with a B.A. in Chemistry and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1983. After a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Mostafa El-Sayed at UCLA, John joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at UCSD in 1985.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1360 pages
  • Publisher: University Science Books; 1 edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0935702997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0935702996
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.2 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book has all the right information presented in a very clear manner.
Jiujitsu Dave
To that end, McQuarrie and Simon really did an outstanding job with "Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach."
His book explains the physical events and then offers a mathematical reasoning behind it which follows well.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Steven Marks on July 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I had the good fortune of having Donald McQuarrie as a Professor for 5 Physical Chemistry courses while I was an undergrad at Indiana University (2 undergrad semsters and 3 graduate semesters). (He is now at UC Davis). His clarity and skills of being a classroom teacher was awesome. In the intervening years, I had forgotten a lot of what I had known in PChem - in spite of having gotten a PhD in the subject from Cal Berkeley. (Industry does that to one).
Now that my interests coincide with relearning the subject, I was turned off by the textbooks that I had. In searching for a text, I noticed McQuarrie had written one. I decided that it was definately worth checking out. Upon reading it - it became obvious that all those years of teaching the subject had paid off. The clarity in approaching the subject was set to print!
What is great about his text is: 1) Totally self contained. The math needed for a particular subject is put into interleafing chapters on a "just in time basis." I can see how that might be a turnoff for someone whose math skills are sharp, advanced and current. On the otherhand, for folks that need a refresher (like myself) or had limited exposure to the subject - It is right there, right now, no hunting around needed. 2) Comprehensive. YOU DO NOT NEED ANOTHER TEXT. If you have the misfortune of having a class where the Professor has chosen another text this would be THE supplemenatry text (though at [price] new there would be an 'ouch' factor). 3) BREAKS PARADIGMS. If you look at almost any other text on Physical Chemistry (Barrow or Atkins or .....), the Table of Contents is identical - the subject is taught in the order the historical discoveries where made.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By spumn on September 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
[NOTE: This is a revised version of an earlier review titled, "Not undergraduate-friendly; buy the solutions manual." My opinion of this text has changed considerably over the years since I was first exposed to it (and to physical chemistry itself), and I feel I was not fair with my first, rather critical, review. At the time, I gave the text 3 stars, something I frankly thought was being charitable.]

I first studied physical chemistry in college nearly four years ago, and at the time, I must confess that I absolutely hated this book. I think my primary source of frustration was really with my foreign professor, who had very poor English skills--and, I suspect, poor teaching skills, in any language. Having been spoiled the year before by a truly outstanding organic chemistry professor and an equally outstanding textbook (Wade's, which I highly recommend for undergraduates), I was not accustomed to using a textbook as my primary source of information. Physical chemistry, then, was something of a rude awakening for me. I certainly didn't appreciate the change in professors, but probably more so, I totally missed the fundamental importance of physical chemistry to the broader discipline. My impression of the subject, at first brush, was of a useless exercise in complexity, something condescending PhD's conjured up to torture undergraduates with. In hindsight, this attitude kept me from appreciating the beauty of the subject, and fostered an intense loathing for this colossal, 1400-page red monstrosity. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that my previous review was little more than another tirade by a frustrated student blaming his professor and his textbook for all of his problems. At the end of the year, I sold my text back to the bookstore for whatever pittance they offered me.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Matthew M. Yau on August 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One of the most emerging fear of P-Chem students is the rigid dificulty and obscureness of the mathematical background. Many textbooks have unfortunately overseen the importance of treating the mathematics and establishing link between the mathematics and the physical interpretation of chemical phenomenon. McQuarrie's text addresses and amends this problem in a brilliant. Difficult mathematical concepts are integrated along with the appropriate topics and are presented in a concise fashion. The first half of the text discusses topics in quantum chemistry while the rest deals with thermodynamics, statistical mechanics,and kinetics. All the equations are backed by clear explanation and mathematical derivation. When I took quantum chemistry (the first course of the P-Chem sequence), we used McQuarrie and it worked just fine in explaining all the topics covered in lecture.s (such as spectroscopy, perturbation theory, etc). Unfortunately professor from the second semester (thermodynamics) decided to abandon McQuarrie and used instead Atkins' Physical Chemistry, which is absolutely not worth the money and very confusing and difficult to follow. I kept the McQuarrie book and used that as study aids and reference, whereas I trashed Atkins as soon as the semester was over (well, I immediately sold it back). McQuarrie is the only P-Chem book you'll find useful and clear.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Gibson on October 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I stumbled across this awesome tome in my university library. A professor of mine, a biophysicist, had talked to me about some problems he did as a Ph.D. student and identified them as being part of this strange subject called "physical chemistry." I was intrigued.

I've never been much of a chemistry buff. It just never took for me in highschool, and the labs at my university weren't run in a very interesting way, so my knowledge of pure chemistry is mediocre at best. But, as a physics major, I already have a working knowledge of quantum and stat mech -- and this book still managed to teach me an enormous amount of new material. (I particularly liked the derivation of the emission and absorption spectrums of diatomic molecules in chapter 5, and the molecular spectroscopy in chapter 13. Awesome stuff. I feel like I could go out, join a spectroscopy lab, and do actual calculations now, if I wanted to.) And the presentation is better than I've see for most PHYSICS books devoted to these subjects! It's treatment of quantum rivals Griffiths, a classic qm text, and the stat mech is among the clearest I've seen. Not only am I interested in chemistry now (for the first time in my life!) I want to get a copy of this book just for the physics in it! I'm extremely jealous of the reviewer who got to take classes from one of the authors -- his teaching skills come through on every page, and sitting in his lecture hall must've been quite an experience.
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