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Principles of Physical Chemistry, 2nd Edition

Hans Kuhn, Horst-Dieter Försterling, David H. Waldeck

ISBN: 978-0-470-08964-4 March 2009 1080 Pages


Principles of Physical Chemistry, Second Edition uniquely uses simple physical models as well as rigorous treatments for understanding molecular and supramolecular systems and processes. In this way the presentation assists students in developing an intuitive understanding of the subjects as well as skill in quantitative manipulations. The unifying nature of physical chemistry is emphasized in the book by its organization - beginning with atoms and molecules, and proceeding to molecular assemblies of increasing complexity, ending with the emergence of matter that carries information, i.e. the origin of life, a physicochemical process of unique importance. The aim is to show the broad scope and coherence of physical chemistry.
List of Foundations.

List of Justifications.


Authors Biography.

List of Symbols.


1 Wave–Particle Duality.

2 Essential Aspects of Structure and Bonding.

3 Schrödinger Equation.

4 Hydrogen Atom.

5 Atoms and the Variational Principle.

6 A Quantitative View of Chemical Bonding.

7 Bonding Described by Electron Pairs and Molecular Orbitals.

8 Molecules with π-Electron Systems.

9 Absorption of Light.

10 Emission of Light.

11 Nuclei: Particle and Wave Properties.

12 Nuclear Spin.

13 Solids and Intermolecular Forces.

14 Thermal Motion of Molecules.

15 Energy Distribution in Molecular Assemblies.

16 Work w, Heat q, and Internal Energy U.

17 Reversible Work wrev, Reversible Heat qrev, and Entropy S.

18 General Conditions for Spontaneity and its Application to Equilibria of Ideal Gases and Dilute Solutions.

19 Formal Thermodynamics and its Application to Phase Equilibria.

20 Real Gases.

21 Real Solutions.

22 Reaction Equilibria in Aqueous Solutions and Biosystems.

23 Chemical Reactions in Electrochemical Cells.

24 Chemical Kinetics.

25 Transition States and Chemical Reactions.

26 Macromolecules.

27 Organized Molecular Assemblies.

28 Supramolecular Machines.

29 Origin of Life: Matter Carrying Information.


  • Chemical equilibria and reactions chapters are enhanced with a more molecular and statistical perspective
  • Chapter 21 on kinetics has been expanded to underscore the importance of potential energy (or free energy) curves in view of reaction kinetics and to make important connections to modern studies in electron transfer reactions, 'femtochemistry', and reaction dynamics
  • Discussion of solids and nanoscale materials (quantum dots, nanotubes, etc).
  • the 'Problems' (worked examples) have been integrated into each chapter, rather than presented at the end of the chapter
  • A set of problems to be worked by the student will be presented at the end of each chapter (solutions will be provided in a separate format)
  • Provides students with computer exercises, using MathCAD modules in which the student can change the parameters and observe how the system changes
"The book has clear pedagogical intentions: the authors aim to provide a global scientific methodology for the comprehension of chemical systems at different length scales, solidly based on general principles." (Bunsenmagazine, 1 November 2010)

Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections". (Choice, 1 November 2010)


  • Provides a simple model to understand the essence of quantum mechanics and why atoms and molecules exist (electron-in-a-box model)
  • Exposes beginners to statistical thermodynamics
  • Includes largely neglected topics in the present day curriculum, such as: macromolecules, the principles of organized molecular assemblies, the construction of supramolecular machines and the basic mechanism in the emergence of information producing and carrying forms of matter
  • Provides a CD-ROM with interactive MATHCAD exercises and data tables with search functions
  • A solution's manual is available