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Atkins' Physical Chemistry Paperback – 19 Nov 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 9 edition (19 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199543372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199543373
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 3.6 x 27.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 217,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

In summary this is another very impressive book. The Atkins' Physical chemistry book continues to improve with each successive thanks to the commitment of the authors to make t he book more accessible to its readers and more relevant to modern physical chemistry.

About the Author

Peter Atkins is a fellow of Lincoln College in the University of Oxford and the author of more than sixty books for students and a general audience. His texts are market leaders around the globe. A frequent lecturer in the United States and throughout the world, he has held visiting professorships in France, Israel, Japan, China, and New Zealand. He was the founding chairman of the Committee on Chemistry Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and was a member of IUPAC's Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division.

Julio de Paula is Professor of Chemistry and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Lewis & Clark College. A native of Brazil, Professor de Paula received a B.A. degree in chemistry from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Yale University. His research activities encompass the areas of molecular spectroscopy, biophysical chemistry, and nanoscience. He has taught courses in general chemistry, physical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, instrumental analysis, and writing.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a final year chemistry student I would like to impart some invaluable knowledge to all new students.

This book is no doubt very good, I bought the previous addition in my first year and it has served me well. However, you will save an awful lot of money buying older editions. Doing so will not damage you education in any way. I assure you that none of your lecturers (unless you are lucky enough to be taught by Prof. Atkins himself) will be using the new edition.

If you do not believe me then go to your university library, which will no doubt have several different editions of the book. Have a look though and you will quickly see that there is very little difference between each edition.

One last thing - if you do not want to buy every book on your chemistry reading list, might I suggest the 'holy trinity' of:

Atkins' Physical Chemistry, 7th Ed.
Organic Chemistry - Clayden et al
Inorganic Chemistry - Housecroft and Sharpe

These three covered everything I was taught in the first three years and will no doubt be useful in my final year. Enjoy your studies
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Format: Paperback
This has become the standard textbook for Physical Chemistry in most University Chemistry Departments and this has made Atkins very rich but I cannot understand why. Atkins research area was quantum mechanics and so I was concerned about the review that points out errors in his treatment of quantum mechanics. I have read his monograph on Thermodynamics and that is excellent and shows the area where he can really show his knowledge of his subject, but the coverage of equilibria and kinetics is poor.

The problems with the explanations and symbols in treating chemical equilibria caused me to fail my first year physical chemistry exam. It is treated particularly badly. Later I became a specialist in physical chemistry and a computational chemist before finally becoming a computational biochemist. But after that first disaster I never used Atkins again. There are much more accessible and clearer texts and so I would not recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
I have always been puzzled by the popularity of Atkins' Physical Chemistry. It is not a book that one can use to learn something properly. An enormous number of topics is discussed, but the relations between them aren't. There are paragraphs called Justifications that are supposed to indicate links, but they are much to superficial to be useful. The authors have simply tried to cram too much in too few pages. As a consequence the book promotes rote learning and not understanding. This means that students who have used this book are not capable of any useful reasoning in the field of physical chemistry.

There is also the problem of fundamental errors. This is particularly bad in the chapters using quantum theory (chapters 7 to 11). Here are some of the worse ones that I found.
- The wavefunctions of the Schrödinger equations are not the only wavefunctions that can occur as claimed on page 260. In fact the book even shows other wavefunctions.
- Energy is not always quantized as is suggested in chapter 7. Again the book is inconsistent. It shows examples were the energy varies continuously.
- The conditions on the wavefunction on page 266 are neither all relevant for quantization, nor sufficient.
- The list on page 279 of the "postulates" of quantum mechanics is far from complete, and the Heisenberg uncertainty relation is not a postulate.
- Covalent and ionic bonds are not treated differently in quantum chemistry (page 371).
- Section 10.3 (page 379) tries to explain chemical bonds in terms of an accumulation of charge between the nuclei. In the example the normalization of the wavefunction is ignored however. Including it shows that the opposite of accumulation occurs.
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Incredibly dense and intimidating for first year undergraduate chemists but as your course progresses so too does your understanding of the physical concepts shrouding our world. Though at times derivations are vague a must have for an undergraduate chemists.
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Ok, if you are a new first year degree Chemistry student then brace yourself for this book.

Physical Chemistry as you can imagine is basically the grey area between Physics and Chemistry. This book is pretty heavy with Maths. I personally find this book hard to read. Partly because it isn't an easy part of Chemistry and partly because this book is so dense with variables and constants it is hard to know what is going on at any one time (especially for a first year).

Some sections mainly the first few sections are pretty steady. The later sections are pretty intense and you have to spend quite some times sifting through the information for the stuff you need.

Some small things that are annoying is that you can be looking over a hard subject that uses equations and variables from other sections which are even more difficult so it can feel like the whole subject is trying to force itself onto every page.

The great thing is that this book does a good job at making a difficult subject ordered somewhat. When you finally grasp this book you will wonder what the problem was in the first place, and that feels good. Physical Chemistry is a great subject but you just have to work at it (maybe more than Organic and Inorganic).

Good luck, and just remember, stick with it, you will get there in the end.
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