Course Number: CHEM 120A
Course Name: Physical Chemistry
When is it offered? FALL/SPRING
Requirement Satisfied: Core Class
Summary: This class is primarily an introduction to quantum mechanics. Initially, you review some linear algebra. Around the 3rd week, you start getting deeper into the subject. It is known to be one of the tougher classes for all CoC majors. In my opinion, it is more of a hard transition. You will be introduced to the bra-ket notation - this is something you will use for the rest of the semester. It is really helpful to get a good grip of how to perform calculations and proofs using this. Ultimately, while quantum mechanics is a very abstract topic, this class focuses on the introduction - especially with a more quantitative basis. You won't actually be going deep into quantum theory, so that makes this class fairly smooth once you get a hang of bra-ket notation. Remember that while your problem sets will have extremely difficult questions that might take hours to solve, the instructors can't ask a question of that sort on an exam. So, when preparing for exams in this class, think about what you can truly be tested on in the time you have for the exam (50-120 min). I had Prof. Neuscamann in Fall 2016. If you have this professor, make sure to review your problem sets really well before the exam. You probably will not have much other practice material, so it is key to understand the procedure used in solving the homework problems.
Official Prerequisites: Math 54
LEGIT Prerequisites: Math 54 (lin alg is good enough)
Topics Covered: Intro to quantum mechanics
Workload: Problem sets: 1 per week. They are fairly difficult, but once you get used to the style, they become easier. I highly recommend working in groups for problem sets. Before consulting with your GSI about the tougher problems, I highly recommend that you spend some time understanding it. This definitely helped me get the hang of solving homework problems fairly well.
When to take? Anytime after Math 54. Sophomore Fall is great
"Whats next" Courses? Nothing
Usefulness for research / internships: Not unless you are interested in computational work
Added Comments or Tips: Read the Griffiths book, especially if you have Neuscamman