Brett Williams's Reviews > Physical Chemistry

Physical Chemistry by Peter   Atkins
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites

A noble work of the intellect

Murray Rothland wrote, “Every once in a while the human race pauses in the job of botching its affairs and redeems itself by a noble work of the intellect”. Atkins book is just such a noble work. Rare is it to find a technical text that reads more like a novel, but Atkins does. Not only is the topic fascinating on its own (mostly the physics of molecules), but Atkins raises it to the level of riveting. In those far off years of the university experience for this reader, it was said only a genius could grasp physical chemistry – not true, at least not with Atkins leading the way. Atkins uses varied tools with so many well-chosen angles on description that the reader sees things in nature never realized before. Most often through analogies to what we know well, e.g. the familiar constructive & destructive interference (wave mechanics) applied to wave functions (Schrödinger's sometimes confounding quantum probability description) yielding electron orbitals with shapes that suddenly make sense. That “aha” experience is so frequently felt while reading this book it’s hard to put it down, for anything. There are apparently several versions of this 2006 8th edition. The two in paperback come in color or black-&-white. There’s also 4 years of access to the book’s website, including the text, all its figures, spread sheets and MathCad models. A salute to Oxford University Press and Atkins for this remarkable resource.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 15, 2014 – Shelved
September 6, 2021 – Shelved as: favorites

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