Customer Reviews: Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach
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on February 2, 1999
Simon and McQuarrie have succeeded in upbraiding the traditional approach to introductory physical chemistry (thermodynamics first, quantum chemistry second) and explaining chemistry the way it ought to be taught, with the fundamentals of quantum theory and molecular dynamics first. The prose and conceptual progression are accessible to the average undergraduate, yet the book covers, in detail, a spectrum of contemporary topics that almost challenge the scope of a physcial chemistry text. It seems that the precedent for future physical chemistry texts has been set and the drab, awkward Atkins text can be abandoned
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on January 16, 2014
This is a dense textbook that really goes through everything you need to know for a quantum mechanics AND thermodynamics course. It's a little dated in its language but if you've gone this far in Chemistry, you'll have no problems understanding it. No frills though. The figures, graphs, and charts are not in color if that matters to you.
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on April 12, 2016
The book is easy to follow along to. However, I specifically looked at the table of contents and the page number before ordering and the book that I received was missing two of the chapters that we learned in class.
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on February 15, 2013
Fifty years after taking Quantum mechanics in Physics, I wanted an up to date review of what has happened in my lifetime at a high technical level. Mathematically they do not go all the way into the method Froebenius to solve the various Sturm-Liouville equations, but then it is not a course in special functions, but rather their applications to P Chem. I found it especially fascinating that the molecular bonding is a purely quantum mechanical effect involving the exchange integrals of the wave functions. Good read with lots of material. Maybe I can at last understand group theory or at least what it's good for. Solid pedagogical approach, often showing how simplistic examples lead to a subtle understanding. Excellent book. I like the biographical sketches of the famous chemists. Every section title is a full sentence.
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on June 5, 2014
I did a lot of reading from this textbook during my year of undergraduate physical chemistry and yes, I know physical chemistry can be frustrating, dry, and mathematically rigorous but i feel it is also immensely rewarding, even though I did not choose chemistry as my career. In my opinion, McQuarrie and Simon do an excellent job of incorporating the math with the chemistry. The book teaches the math right before the chemistry rather than assuming you learned it somewhere else. Also, the chapters and series of chapters are very self-contained, which meant there was no problem with the fact that my class did not follow the book's ordering of chapters. I really agreed with the choices the book made on how to teach thermodynamics and quantum. The book takes a statistical mechanics approach throughout, which I feel is easier than learning classical thermodynamics then introducing microstates/macrostates and stat. mech, even if the latter represents the the historical development of the topic. Personally, I believe quantum chemistry is the highlight of the book and is very well written. Similarly to thermodynamics, I agree with the differential equations approach to intro quantum mechanics rather than matrix algebra. Also, I really enjoyed the chapter-beginning bios highlighting a prominent physicist or chemist. To end my review, I feel the practice questions after each chapter are fairly involved, but appropriate to the difficulty level of an advanced undergrad class.
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on August 1, 2014
Probably the best book on physical chemistry ever. Really complete, and with reasonable undergrad level of theory, with the concepts well balanced with the mathematics behind. Big Pro: Special chapters on mathematics. Cons: a bit weak on chemical kinetics (as every not dedicated book on this theme), electrochemistry and phase equilibria.
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on June 11, 2006
McQuarrie does a fantastic job with this book. I just completed P. Chem II and my bachelor's degree, and can say that out of all the chemistry or science textbooks I have owned, this is one of the best. McQuarrie really does explain things in a concise, clear manner, not like some other chemistry authors who can't teach their way out of a wet paper sack. He spends alot of time going over review material, which helps strengthen your foundational principles. Spread throughout the book are math review chapters for those algebra and calculus concepts you may be rusty on: complex numbers, spherical coordinates, probability, determinants, etc. Example problems range from simplistic exercises, to more difficult derivations, so there is a good variety to help you practice your skills.

This book approaches P. Chem in the reverse order by which it is usually taught: McQuarrie starts with Quantum and then leads to Thermodynamics. I think this is a fantastic way to learn P.Chem.
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on December 22, 2015
Fantastic introduction to quantum mechanics and how it relates to chemical systems and spectroscopy. The text presents the material clearly with excellent graphs and figures to illustrate the concepts. I think it's real strength comes from the problems, however, as they are designed to walk you through the important derivations to highlight essential ideas.
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on December 10, 2013
This is the textbook for physical chemistry. Commonly referred to as pchem. Doesn't sound scary and it's not in hindsight. Probably one of the most difficult and mind expanding courses I ever took. Good luck and congratulations on being in the top 1% of intellects capable of attempting to understand quantum/thermo chemistry.
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on January 21, 2014
I only took the first semester of P-chem, and I thought the first few weeks were bearable, but the rest was a nightmare. This book was not very clear to me. The same variables over and over again, although they all seem to mean different things; and variables are rarely defined.
P-chem II looks like a more interesting subject, covering thermo and kinematics and things. But more power to you if quantum mechanics is your thing
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