Mathematics for Physical Chemistry is the ideal supplementary text for practicing chemists and students who want to sharpen their mathematics skills while enrolled in general through physical chemistry courses. This book specifically emphasizes the use of mathematics in the context of physical chemistry, as opposed to being simply a mathematics text.

This 4e includes new exercises in each chapter that provide practice in a technique immediately after discussion or example and encourage self-study. The early chapters are constructed around a sequence of mathematical topics, with a gradual progression into more advanced material. A final chapter discusses mathematical topics needed in the analysis of experimental data.

Key Features

  • Numerous examples and problems interspersed throughout the presentations
  • Each extensive chapter contains a preview and objectives
  • Includes topics not found in similar books, such as a review of general algebra and an introduction to group theory
  • Provides chemistry-specific instruction without the distraction of abstract concepts or theoretical issues in pure mathematics


New chemistry researchers; freshmen through juniors, seniors and graduates students enrolled in general through physical chemistry courses; especially students in lower- and upper-division honors chemistry courses

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Problem Solving and Numerical Mathematics

1.1 Problem Solving

1.2 Numbers and Measurements

1.3 Numerical Mathematical Operations

1.4 Units of Measurement

1.5 The Factor-Label Method

1.6 Measurements, Accuracy, and Significant Digits


Chapter 2. Mathematical Functions

2.1 Mathematical Functions in Physical Chemistry

2.2 Important Families of Functions

2.3 Generating Approximate Graphs


Chapter 3. Problem Solving and Symbolic Mathematics: Algebra

3.1 The Algebra of Real Scalar Variables

3.2 Coordinate Systems In Two Dimensions

3.3 Coordinate Systems in Three Dimensions

3.4 Imaginary and Complex Numbers

3.5 Problem Solving and Symbolic Mathematics


Chapter 4. Vectors and Vector Algebra

4.1 Vectors in Two Dimensions

4.2 Vectors in Three Dimensions

4.3 Physical Examples of Vector Products


Chapter 5. Problem Solving and the Solution of Algebraic Equations

5.1 Algebraic Methods for Solving One Equation with One Unknown

5.2 Numerical Solution of Algebraic Equations

5.3 A Brief Introduction to Mathematica

5.4 Simultaneous Equations: Two Equations with Two Unknowns


Chapter 6. Differential Calculus

6.1 The Tangent Line and the Derivative of a Function

6.2 Differentials

6.3 Some Useful Derivative Identities

6.4 Newton’s Method

6.5 Higher-Order Derivatives

6.6 Maximum–Minimum Problems

6.7 Limiting Values of Functions

6.8 l’Hôpital’s Rule

Chapter 7. Integral Calculus

7.1 The Antiderivative of a Function

7.1.1 Position, Velocity, and Acceleration

7.2 The Process of Integration

7.2.1 The Definite Integral as an Area


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© 2013
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"The text is extremely clear and concise delivering exactly what the student needs to know in a pinch – nothing more, nothing less. It is an indispensable resource for any student of physical chemistry." --Gregory S. Engel, Harvard University

"Mathematics for Physical Chemistry is a comprehensive review of many useful mathematical topics...The book would be useful for anyone studying physical chemistry." --Daniel B. Lawson, University of Michigan-Dearborn

"The student will derive benefit from the clarity, and the professional from a concise compilation of techniques stressing application rather than theory.… Recommended." --John A. Wass, Scientific Computing and Instrumentation