Mathematics for Physical Chemistry

Opening Doors

Donald A. McQuarrie

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: July 20, 2008

Pages: 368 pages

ISBN: 9781891389566 Related titles:


A wonderful quotation advises students to listen carefully the moment they decide to take no more mathematics courses, as they might be able to “hear the sound of closing doors”.

This text, written by best-selling author Donald McQuarrie, is meant to keep doors open to undergraduate and even graduate chemistry students who need a quick review of the mathematical methods that are used throughout chemistry. It is the outgrowth of a collection of  “MathChapters” from McQuarrie’s famous texts, Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach and Quantum Chemistry Second Edition. These “MathChapters”, now available to all, provide students with concise reviews of mathematical topics, discussing only the minimal amount that students need to know. By reading these reviews before the mathematics is applied to physical chemical problems, a student will be able to spend less time worrying about the math and more time learning the physical chemistry. This book can also be used as a supplement with any traditional textbook on physical or quantum chemistry.


  • Focuses on clear, mathematical descriptions, written by a chemist for chemists.
  • Includes 23 short chapters, with each one designed to be read in a single sitting.
  • Presents mathematical material at a practical level with an emphasis on applications to physical problems.
  • Contains examples to illustrate the techniques being discussed.
  • Features over 600 problems, most of which have answers at the end of the book.

Chapter 1: Functions of a Single Variable: Differentiation
Chapter 2: Functions of a Single Variable: Integration
Chapter 3: Series and Limits
Chapter 4: Functions Defined as Integrals
Chapter 5: Complex Numbers
Chapter 6: Differential Equations
Chapter 7: Power Series Solutions of Differential Equations
Chapter 8: Orthogonal Polynomials
Chapter 9: Fourier Series
Chapter 10: Fourier Transforms
Chapter 11: Operators
Chapter 12: Functions of Several Variables
Chapter 13: Vectors
Chapter 14: Coordinate Systems
Chapter 15: The Classical Wave Equation
Chapter 16: The Schrödinger Equation
Chapter 17: Determinants
Chapter 18: Matrices
Chapter 19: Matrix Eigenvalue Problems
Chapter 20: Vector Spaces
Chapter 21: Probability
Chapter 22: Statistics
Chapter 23: Numerical Methods

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