Brief Description of Concentration
There is exciting science on the somewhat arbitrary and fluid boundary between chemistry and physics. Chemists and physicists often study the same phenomena in slightly different ways, and it is very useful, in the boundary area, to have training in both fields. Recognizing this, the physics department has for many years offered the concentration in Chemistry and Physics.
The Chemistry & Physics concentration is structured to assure that all concentrators are introduced to the core subjects of chemistry (organic, inorganic, and physical); of physics (mechanics, electromagnetism, and quantum theory); and of mathematics.
- Life Sciences 1a (LS 1a) or Physical Sciences 1 (PS1) is useful as a general introduction to Chemistry for students without a strong high school background.
- Physical Sciences 10 (PS10) is strongly recommended for students interested in the Chemistry and Physics concentration because it combines statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics, two of the most important topics in physics and chemistry, at an accessible level.
- Most Chemistry and Physics students will begin their physics program with mechanics in Physics 15a or 16, and continue with Physics 15b and c (in either order). However, it is also possible to get started by taking Physical Sciences 12a/b or AP50a/b. Students in these courses who are interested in the Chemistry and Physics concentration should consult the Head Tutor or Associate Head Tutor, who will work with them to design an appropriate plan of study.
- Mathematics is an indispensable tool in chemistry and physics, and students will find it very useful to improve their math skills early in their academic careers, by taking two courses at the Math 21 level, along with any needed prerequisites.