Chemistry 383, Fall Semester 2017

Introduction to Physical Chemistry I

Professor Warren F. Beck

office: 3 Chemistry
contact: see directory listing
web: research, Chemistry department brochure page (pdf)


Syllabus (pdf)

CEM 383 is the first semester of the course in physical chemistry for B.A.-degree Chemistry majors and for non-Chemistry majors; the CEM 483/484 sequence is intended for B.S.-degree Chemistry majors and Chemical Engineering majors.

The focus is on thermodynamics and chemical kinetics, but there will be an additional introduction to some aspects of statistical thermodynamics in order to provide aspects of a microscopic point of view, especially for temperature and heat capacity. Examples from biochemistry and biophysics will be emphasized.


Discussion Sections: start 11 September 2017

Labor Day: Monday, 4 September 2017; University holiday

Quizzes: often on Wednesdays

Problem Sets: due at the beginning of lectures on Fridays

Midterm Examinations: Mondays, 9 October and 13 November 2017

Final Examination: Friday, 15 December 2017


  1. Thermodynamics: Systems and State Functions
  2. First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy and Thermochemistry
  3. Second Law of Thermodynamics: Entropy and Spontaneity
  4. Gibbs Free Energy, Chemical Potential, and Activities
  5. Chemical Equilibrium
  6. Reaction Kinetics and Dynamics
  7. Statistical Thermodynamics and Temperature

Course Materials

The texts used in this course can be downloaded from the MSU library:

Gordon G. Hammes and Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, Physical Chemistry for the Biological Sciences, Wiley, 2015.

Donald W. Rogers, Concise Physical Chemistry, Wiley, 2010.

The lecture notes, problem sets and solutions, and other materials will be available in the Desire2Learn (D2L) system. Assistance with D2L is available 24/7 through MSU Distance Learning Services (a.k.a. the Help Desk) locally at (517) 432-6200 or long-distance at (844) 678-6200.