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October 27 , 2007

Selected Problems in Physical Chemistry

Strategies and Interpretations


The latest authors, like the most ancient, strove to subordinate the phenomena of nature to the laws of mathematics Isaac Newton, 1647–1727 The approach quoted above has been adopted and practiced by many teachers of chemistry. Today, physical chemistry textbooks are written for science and engineering majors who possess an interest in and aptitude for mathematics.No knowledge of chemistry or biology (not to mention poetry) is required. To me this sounds like a well-de?ned prescription for limiting the readership to a few and carefully selected. I think the importance of physical chemistry goes beyond this precept. The s- ject should bene?t both the science and engineering majors and those of us who dare to ask questions about the world around us. Numerical mathematics, or a way of thinking in mathematical formulas and numbers – which we all practice, when paying in cash or doing our tax forms – is important but should not be used to subordinate the in?nitely rich world of physical chemistry.

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