Physical Chemistry: Quantum Mechanics and Spectroscopy
Course Description: This course is intended for chemistry majors. In it, we will discuss principles and postulates of quantum mechanics and will develop simple quantum mechanical models that lead to an understanding of real molecules. We will review mathematical principles necessary to understand quantum mechanics, and we will discuss principles of atomic and molecular spectroscopy. Lastly, we will preview principles of chemical kinetics.
Learning Objectives: At the end of this course, as active participants in the learning and communicating process, you will be able to:
- Foster intuition. Develop an intuition about physical chemistry systems and models.
- Form connections between math and chemistry. Translate a physical description of a physical chemistry problem into the mathematical formalism necessary to solve it. Explain the physical meaning of the mathematical formulation and solution. Develop physicochemical insight through the mathematics of a problem.
- Visualize. Sketch appropriate parameters of a problem (e.g., wave function, potential, probability distribution) and derive appropriate physical properties of some system from visually depicted data.
- Predict, solve, and check problems. As appropriate for a given problem, articulate expectations for the solution to a problem in advance of finding a complete solution. Learn to choose and apply appropriate problem-solving methods. Transfer the methods learned in class and through homework to novel contexts. Justify the reasonableness of a solution reached.
- Navigate the unknown. Draw upon knowledge and skills to approach a problem even when a process leading to a correct solution is not yet clear. Develop the ability to monitor progress towards a solution.
- Develop intellectual maturity. Students should accept responsibility for their own learning and be aware of what they do and do not understand about physical chemistry. Students should learn to ask specific questions, and to identify and articulate the parts of a problem that they found difficult so they can take appropriate action. Finally, students should regularly check their understanding against these learning goals and seek appropriate help to fill in gaps.