Mathematics for Physical  Chemistry

Opening Doors

Donald A. McQuarrie
University of California, Davis


"...the book is very good indeed. It covers just about every topic that a physical chemist is likely to need. A structural advantage is that its 345 pages are divided into 23 short chapters: the constraint of brevity entails that focus is maintained on the essentials, which students will welcome. They will also welcome the numerous worked examples that occur throughout the text and will recognise in most places the relevance of the topic to their subject."
--Peter Atkins for The Times Higher Education, 27 November 2008

"Physical chemistry is difficult because of the mathematics, but impossibly difficult without it...The material [in this book] is presented at a practical level with an emphasis on applications to physical problems.  Each chapter includes about 30 problems, most illustrating applications to physical problems."

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.


As the author of landmark chemistry books and textbooks, Donald McQuarrie's name is synonymous with excellence in chemical education.  From his classic text on Statistical Mechanics to his quantum-first tour de force on Physical Chemistry, McQuarrie's best selling textbooks are highly acclaimed by the chemistry community.  McQuarrie received his PhD from the University of Oregon, and is Professor Emeritus from the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Davis.  He makes his home at The Sea Ranch in California with his wife Carole, where he continues to write and enjoy life.

Translated into Japanese.

Print Book
ISBN 978-1-891389-56-6, 368 pages, Copyright 2008, Soft Cover
List Price US$56.00
Publisher's Discount Price US$47.60
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eISBN 978-1-938787-28-7, 368 pages, Copyright 2008
List Price US$45 to own; US$30 to lease
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Complete Frontmatter, PDF Format

Complete List of McQuarrie Titles