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.