Physical Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199689095

Peter Atkins
152 Pages
110 x 174 mm
Pub date
Apr 2014
Very Short Introductions


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  • Covers all the aspects of the subject in a clear, accessible, mathematics-free style
  • Shows how physical chemists think about their subject and borrow ideas from physics to explain the phenomena
  • Ideal for chemistry students and the general reader looking to learn more about the subject
  • Demonstrates the central contributions physical chemistry makes towards our understanding of chemical concepts and the natural world

With the development of a variety of exciting new areas of research involving computational chemistry, nano- and smart materials, and applications of the recently discovered graphene, there can be no doubt that physical chemistry is a vitally important field. It is also perceived as the most daunting branch of chemistry, being necessarily grounded in physics and mathematics and drawing as it does on quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and statistical thermodynamics.
With his typical clarity and hardly a formula in sight, Peter Atkins' Very Short Introduction explores the contributions physical chemistry has made to all branches of chemistry. Providing an insight into its central concepts Atkins reveals the cultural contributions physical chemistry has made to our understanding of the natural world. 

"The collection A Very Short Introduction from Oxford University Press is directed to people who want a stimulating and accessible way into a new subject. From this perspective, Peter Atkins has successfully met the collection's goal. In his characteristic clear style, he walks us through a short but rather interesting journey through the core ideas that form the conceptual infrastructure of physical chemistry. This intellectual trip takes the reader through different levels at which physicochemical models describe, explain, and predict the structure and properties of matter. From the subatomic world to the macroscopic scale; from single-particle to multi-particle systems; from the theoretical realm to the experimental setting." - Science & Education

"[Physical Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction] is carefully written and captures the breadth of the subject." - Chemistry World

"An exemplary book, both for those who, like me, want to refresh and modernize his obsolete knowledge, and for those (students, pupils) whom you will introduce into this fascinating subject. Without any reserve: cordially recommended!" - Hans Bouma, NVOX


1: Matter from the inside
2: Matter from the outside
3: Bridging matter
4: States of matter
5: Changing the state of matter
6: Changing the identity of matter
7: Investigating matter
Further reading

About the author: 

Peter Atkins, Fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford
Peter Atkins is the author of about 70 books, including the world-renowned and widely used Physical Chemistry, now in its 10th edition [in Jan 2014] and is the winner of the 2016 Grady-Stack award for science journalism. After graduating from the University of Leicester and a post-doctoral year in the University of California, Los Angeles, he returned to Oxford in 1965 as Fellow of Lincoln College and University Lecturer (later Professor) in physical chemistry. He retired in 2007, but continues to write and lecture worldwide.

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