Session S46 (Tuesday, 9:30am, Boucke 109)

P423: Rethinking the physical chemistry sequence to emphasize connections between topics

Craig Teague (Cornell College, USA)

The physical chemistry sequence typically includes one class covering mostly thermodynamics and one class covering mostly quantum chemistry.  A classic debate among physical chemistry professors is which topic to cover in the first course.  There are valid advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.  In this presentation, I will discuss my efforts to sidestep this debate in order to give students a more coherent picture of the whole of physical chemistry.  In the first course, we cover an introduction to all four subareas of physical chemistry:  classical thermodynamics, statistical thermodynamics, dynamics/kinetics, and quantum chemistry/spectroscopy.  In the second course, we cover all subareas in more depth.  I will provide details of how I have implemented this approach and how it helps students in three majors (chemistry, biochemistry/molecular biology, and physics) see more connections within physical chemistry and, by extension, chemistry as a whole.

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