Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Recitations: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session


Prerequisites for this course are 8.02 Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism, 18.02 Multivariable Calculus, and one of the following:

5.111 Principles of Chemical Science, 5.112 Principles of Chemical Science, or 3.091 Introduction to Solid State Chemistry.


Buy at Amazon McQuarrie, Donald A. Quantum Chemistry. 2nd ed. University Science Books, 2008. ISBN: 9781891389504. [Preview with Google Books]

Other Books

Buy at Amazon Atkins, P., and J. de Paula. Physical Chemistry. 7th ed. W. H. Freeman and Company, 2001. ISBN: 9780716735397.

Buy at Amazon Silbey, R., R. Alberty, and M. Bawendi. Physical Chemistry. 4th ed. John Wiley & Sons, 2004. ISBN: 9780471215042.

Buy at Amazon Karplus, M., and R. Porter. Atoms and Molecules: An Introduction for Students of Physical Chemistry. W. A. Benjamin, 1970. ISBN: 9780805352184.


There will be clicker exercises (classroom response devices) in almost every lecture. Students will be awarded participation points (up to a maximum of 50) based on the number of clicker questions to which they respond. There will also be prizes for the recitation section with the largest percentage of correct clicker answers.


There will be three one-hour examinations during the term and a regularly-scheduled three-hour final examination. An information sheet summarizing details of the examinations will be distributed prior to each examination. All of the exams will be closed-notes and closed-book.


Problems will be assigned every week. Late problem sets are not accepted. Homework will be graded by the recitation instructor and returned in recitation.


A total of 650 points is possible in the course as follows:

Homework 100
Exams 300 (100 each)
Clicker Question Responses 50
Final exam 200
Total 650


The calendar below provides information on the course's lecture (L) and exam (E) sessions.

L1 Historical Background  
L2 Wave Nature of the Electron and the Internal Structure of an Atom  
L3 Two-Slit Experiment. Quantum Weirdness  
L4 Classical Wave Equation  
L5 Quantum Mechanics: Free Particle and Particle in 1D box Problem set 1 due
L6 3-D Box and Separation of Variables  
L7 Classical Mechanical Harmonic Oscillator  
L8 Quantum Mechanical Harmonic Oscillator Problem set 2 due
L9 The Harmonic Oscillator: Creation and Annihilation Operators  
L10 The Time-Dependent Schrödinger Equation Problem set 3 due
L11 Wavepacket Dynamics for Harmonic Oscillator and PIB  
L12 Looking Backward Before First Hour Exam  
E1 First Hour Exam  
L13 Interaction of Light with Matter  
L14 Non-Degenerate Perturbation Theory I  
L15 Non-Degenerate Perturbation Theory II Problem set 4 due
L16 Rigid Rotor I  
L17 Rigid Rotor II Problem set 5 due
L18 Perturbation Theory III  
L19 Hydrogen Atom  
E2 Second Hour Exam  
L20 Hydrogen Atom (cont.)  
L21 Helium Atom  
L22 Helium Atom (cont.) Problem set 6 due
L23 Many Electron Atoms  
L24 Molecular Orbitals I  
L25 Molecular Orbitals I (cont.) Problem set 7 due
L26 Molecular Orbitals II  
L27 Qualitative Molecular Orbital Theory  
L28 Qualitative Molecular Orbital Theory (cont.)  
L29 Modern Electronic Structure Theory: Basis Sets  
E3 Third Hour Exam  
L30 Modern Electronic Structure Theory: Electron Correlation Problem set 8 due
L31 Using Gaussian  
L32 Intermolecular Interactions  
L33 Electronic Spectroscopy and Photochemistry  
L34 Electronic Spectroscopy and Photochemistry (cont.) Problem set 9 due
L35 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)  
L36 Course Review / Makeup Lecture  
E4 Final Exam