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Elements of Physical Chemistry Fifth Edition by Peter Atkins and Julio de Paula
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Elements of Physical Chemistry Fifth Edition by Peter Atkins and Julio de Paula

PREFACE to Elements of Physical Chemistry

When a book enters its fifth edition you might expect a certain maturity and a settling down into a comfortable middle if not old age.

We hope you will identify the former but not the latter. We learn enormously from each new edition and like to refresh the exposition and introduce new ideas at every opportunity.

We hope that you will see maturity certainly but also a new vibrancy in this edition. The structure of the book remains much the same as in the fourth edition, but with a small reorganization of chapters, such as the reversal of the order of the groups of chapters on Materials.

We have also brought together under various umbrella titles the related chapters to give a greater sense of cohesion.

Thus there is a Chemical Equilibrium family, a Chemical Kinetics family, a Quantum Chemistry family, a Materials family, and a Spectroscopy family.

Throughout the text we have had in mind one principal objective: to ensure that the coverage is appropriate to a single compact physical chemistry course.

As a result, we have eliminated some material but (with our eyes alert to the dangers of expanding the text unduly) have strengthened the discussion of a wide range of topics.

One aspect of the vibrancy of presentation that we have sought to achieve is that the entire art programm has been redrawn in full color.

As a result, we hope that not only will you enjoy using the book more than earlier editions but find the illustrations much more informative.

We have paid more attention to the presentation of mathematics in this edition. We introduced ‘bubbles’ in the fourth edition: they contain remarks about the steps being taken to develop an equation.

We have taken this popular feature much further in this edition, and have added many more bubbles. The green bubbles indicate how to proceed across an equals sign; the red bubbles indicate the meaning of terms in an expression.

In this edition we have introduced another new feature that should help you with your studies: each chapter now has a Checklist of key equations following the Checklist of key ideas, which now summarizes only the concepts.

A source of confusion in the fourth edition was the use of the term Illustration: some thought it meant a diagram; others a short example.

We have renamed all the short examples A brief illustration, so that confusion should now be avoided. These brief illustrations have been joined by A brief comment and we have retained and expanded the popular Notes on good practice.

A good proportion of the end-of chapter Exercises have been modified or replaced; we have added Projects, rather involved exercises that often call for the use of calculus.

The new features are summarized in the following About the book section. As always in the preparation of a new edition we have relied heavily on advice from users throughout the world, our numerous translators into other languages, and colleagues who have given their time in the reviewing process.

We are greatly indebted to them, and have learned a lot from them. They are identified and thanked in the Acknowledgements section.

ABOUT Authors of Elements of Physical Chemistry

Peter Atkins is a fellow of Lincoln College in the University of Oxford and the author of more than sixty books for students and a general audience.

His texts are market leaders around the globe. A frequent lecturer in the United States and throughout the world, he has held visiting professorships in France, Israel, Japan, China, and New Zealand.

He was the founding chairman of the Committee on Chemistry Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and was a member of IUPAC’s Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division.

Julio de Paula is Professor of Chemistry and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Lewis & Clark College. A native of Brazil, Professor de Paula received a B.A. degree in chemistry from Rutgers,

The State University of New Jersey, and a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Yale University.

His research activities encompass the areas of molecular spectroscopy, biophysical chemistry, and nanoscience. He has taught courses in general chemistry, physical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, instrumental analysis, and writing.

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