physical chemistry

JCE 95.09 September 2018 Issue Highlights

The September 2018 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available to subscribers. Topics featured in this issue include: reticular chemistry; laboratory research experience for students; historical perspective; chemistry and the environment; laboratories using color to understand chemistry; electrochemistry laboratories; DIY instrumentation; organic semiconductors; orbitals; computer-based learning and computational chemistry; from the archives: paper chromatography.

Review: Introduction to Computational Physical Chemistry by Joshua Schrier

Joshua Schrier has taken on a traditionally difficult task, teaching computational chemistry. To do this successfully, the student has to have programming skills, a solid foundation in the theory and background in the methods employed from classical physics to quantum methods. Thus the task is daunting and why so few have taken it on.

Summer Reading/Book Review: Four Laws That Drive The Universe, by Peter Atkins

In a previous blog post, I shared a book Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction, by Dr. Peter Atkins. For my summer reading I wanted to get back to reading some chemistry non-fiction. I did, however, diverge from my original plan to read Eric Scerri's The Periodic Table: It's story and significance. Instead. "Four Laws That Drive the Universe" (with an alternative title of The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction) became my next book as I so thoroughly enjoyed the writing style of Peter Atkins. The Kindle Version is only $6.15 and worth every penny in my opinion.

Figuring Out Electron Configurations

After spending the start of the year using a modified version of the Modeling Instruction curriculum (density and physical properties, followed by gas laws, followed by energy and phase changes), we don’t actually start talking about what’s inside atoms until December. I love that by this point students are already familiar with some of the habits of mind needed to reason abstractly about atoms -- thinking proportionally, explaining macroscopic observations at the particle level -- and we are ready to layer on both more abstraction and the symbolic level. By January, we are ready to explore electron configurations.