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Natural Sciences Degree
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Chemistry - Physical Chemistry

Stream Representative
Dr Derek Tocher:

Physical Chemistry is concerned with understanding the structure and property of matter and the factors that govern the rates and pathway of chemical reactions. Students following this stream will learn the fundamental theories behind spectroscopy, kinetics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, electrochemistry, solid structures and surface processes. 


Students who complete this stream will understand:

  • the laws governing the transformation of energy that takes place during chemical reactions and when matter changes state
  • the electronic structure of atoms and molecules and the arrangement of electrons occupying defined quantised energy levels
  • how electromagnetic radiation is absorbed or emitted by atoms or molecules, and the relationships between this spectroscopic information and the structure
  • the theory and approaches required to analyse the rate of chemical change and to determine the mechanisms for a reaction
  • how to make physical measurements and how to analyse this data to determine physical properties, such as bond lengths, and rate and enthalpies of reaction
The Physical Chemistry stream requires similar mathematical skills and style of thinking as Physics, and so is normally combined with Atomic & Particle Physics, Astrophysics, Geophysical Sciences, or Maths & Statistics.

Page last modified on 23 jan 14 13:39