# how much math is needed to study chemistry?

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Ok,cool thanks guys.

Off topic but too lazy to make another thread:

How much mathmatics is needed for chemistry?\

Thanks.

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moved to a new thread (don't be lazy)

in answer to your question, most of the math is fairly simple but it needs to be right, of course. You should be confident in your math skills. Off the top of my head we generally use (I teach first year):

- algebra (linear, quadratic, and occasionally polynomial)

- conversion factors

- dimensional analysis (we use this a lot)

- exponentials and logarithms base 10 and natural (log, ln, and e)

- simultaneous equations

- some very basic calculus

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i) group theory for symmetries of molecules and crystals?

ii) differential equations and linear algebra (matrices and vector spaces etc) for quantum chemistry?

So, I imagine what maths one needs as a chemist would depend on ones tastes and interests to a large extent.

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In most chemistry courses Schroedinger's equation will be introduced in the 2nd year so if you can't handle second order partial differential equations then you are at a distinct disadvantage.

I would also echo the above post on the importance of group theory which is crucial in spectroscopy and in molecular orbital theory and is imo generally poorly understood by many chemists. (You only have to look at how little symmetry is discussed on this forum.)

I always recommend anyone wishing to study chemistry improve their mathematical skills to well above A level

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I can only really speak for the first year of a chemistry degree.

group theory used to be required but not any more in my courses. differential equations might be slightly useful so that you'd recognise one when you're given one, but not really needed.

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It is perfectly possible to become a good chemist without being a good mathematician, but in my experience, it is not the way to put the odds in your favour. You'll be selected out of physical and theoretical cheimstry for a start. Even inorganic chemists (which is what I first trained as) often require good maths. There wasn't a day during my PhD when I didn't use group theory as I did a lot of spectroscopy. The physical organic chemistry can also be pretty mathematical, so immediately you get narrowed down to organic synthetic, some aspects of inorganic and possibly some biochemical type disciplines

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It is perfectly possible to become a good chemist without being a good mathematician, but in my experience, it is not the way to put the odds in your favour. You'll be selected out of physical and theoretical cheimstry for a start. Even inorganic chemists (which is what I first trained as) often require good maths. There wasn't a day during my PhD when I didn't use group theory as I did a lot of spectroscopy. The physical organic chemistry can also be pretty mathematical, so immediately you get narrowed down to organic synthetic, some aspects of inorganic and possibly some biochemical type disciplines

That's pretty much my response too.

I'm not a great mathematician, so much of physical chemistry eludes me. This semester for example, amongst other things we covered the Eyring equation and its derivation. I was a bit lost. It's still possible to pass a degree (and pass it well) without grasping maths, if you work hard and have an aptitude for synthetic and qualitative aspects of chemistry.

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