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Physical Chemistry for the Biosciences

Raymond Chang Williams College


            Physical Chemistry for the Biosciences is intended for use in a one-semester introductory course in physical chemistry.  Most students enrolled in this course have taken general chemistry, organic chemistry, and a year of physics and calculus.  Only basic skills of differential and integral calculus are required for understanding the equations.  For premedical students, this text will form the basis for taking courses like physiology and pharmacology in medical school.  For those intending to pursue graduate study in the biological sciences, the materials presented here will serve as an introduction to topics in biophysical chemistry courses, where more advanced texts such as those by Gennis, van Holde, and Cantor & Schimmel are used. 

            My aim is to emphasize on understanding physical concepts and their applications to chemical and biological systems rather than on precise mathematical development or on actual experimental details.  To keep the text at a reasonable length, I have had to make choices of what to omit.   All the basic and essential topics in physical chemistry like thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, and bonding are treated in detail.  Additional chapters on spectroscopy, photochemistry and photobiology, and macromolecules can also be covered if time permits.  Each chapter has an extensive reference list of texts and journal articles.  A color tint is used to show the key equations.  The end-of-chapter problems (about 900 in all) are arranged according to topics in each chapter.  The Additional Problems section contains more challenging and multi-concept problems.  A Solutions Manual written by Helen Leung and Mark Marshall containing full solutions to all even-numbered problems is available. 

            It is a pleasure to thank the following people who provided helpful comments and suggestions: Christopher Barrett (McGill University), Ron Christensen (Bowdoin College), Kirsten Eberth (The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy), Raymond Esquerra (San Francisco State University), Gary Lorigan (Miami University), Robert O’Brien (Portland State University), Keith Orrell (University of Exeter), and Karen Singmaster (San Jose State University).  I also thank Bruce Armbruster and Kathy Armbruster for general assistance, Cecile Joyner for expertly supervising the production, Bob Ishi for his functional and tasteful design, John Murdzek for a meticulous job of copy-editing, and John Waller and Judy Waller for their pleasing and effective illustrations.  Finally, my special thanks go to Jane Ellis, who supervised the project from beginning to end and took care of all the details big and small. 

 Raymond Chang
Williamstown, MA