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Introduction to Contextual Maths in Chemistry Authors: Fiona Dickinson, Andrew McKinley

About this book


For any student who has ever struggled with a mathematical understanding of chemistry, this book is for you.

Mathematics is the essential tool for physical scientists. We know that confidence in using mathematics early on in a chemistry degree builds a solid foundation for further study. However, applying the abstract mathematics taught in schools to chemical phenomena is one of the biggest challenges that chemistry students face.

In this book, we take a ‘chemistry-first’ approach. We link the mathematics to recognisable chemical concepts, building on high school chemistry, to facilitate deeper understanding. We cover the practical mathematical skills, including representation of data as tables and graphs, and give an overview of error handling in the physical sciences. More advanced mathematical concepts are introduced, using calculus to determine kinetic rate laws, intermolecular forces and in quantifying energetic change in thermodynamics. We also introduce the concept of the complex number and its role in considering quantum wave functions, widely used in computational chemistry.

There are worked examples and problem sets to provide plenty of practise material to build proficiency. We also include insights from real students, which identify common problem areas and provide the prompts that helped them to overcome these.

Chemistry Student Guides are written with current students involved at every stage, guiding the books towards the most challenging aspects of the topic.

From the book series:
Chemistry Student Guides

Book content

  • How to use this book
  • The basics: Mathematical functions, rearranging equations and handling units
  • Probability and Statistics in Chemistry
  • Experimental uncertainty 
  • and significant figures: What are the bounds of experimental error?
  • Tables 
  • and Graphs - Presenting and Analysing Experimental Data
  • Trigonometry and coordinate systems: Crystal structures and molecular separations
  • Vectors, directions and crystal structures
  • Calculus 1, Differentiation: Mean speeds and equilibrium separations
  • Calculus 2, Integration: Reaction kinetics and rate laws
  • Complex numbers: Quantum mechanics and solving the Schrödinger equation
  • The Mathematical Toolkit

Buy paperback £19.99 *
* Exclusive of taxes
This book contains 295 pages.

Supplementary files

Publication details

Print publication date
23 Oct 2020
Copyright year
Print ISBN
ePub eISBN