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I am a highschooler who eventually wants to deeply understand the properties of elements and compounds etc. I have been dabbling in some Chemistry books lately but I find them a bit superficial, and thus I have come to realize that I need a good understanding of Physics. What branches of Physics are the most related to these questions? I think they are Quantum and Solid State Physics but I am not sure. And what are the prerequisites for these branches of Physics? Books definitely do not look beginner-friendly.

I am aware that achieving a real understanding of these subjects is very hard but you have to start somewhere, right? I was actually thinking to major in something related to Chemistry, but as I said I have been disillusioned and now I think I will major in something related to Physics (And I enjoy Physics as well).


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marked as duplicate by Qmechanic quantum-mechanics Mar 28 '18 at 12:33

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  • $\begingroup$ As for chemistry can be seen a subfield of physics, but it is also an applied science in itself,this question should have been posted in chem SE. If you are a cleaver guy/girl and passionate, usually you will find your way along studying. As a comment, with QM professional are still solving H2. On a bench is a different story. Up to your talent and interest. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Jan 31 '18 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ If you take a chemistry major, you will study lots of physics. The most fundamental branches of physics to understand chemistry are without a doubt thermodynamics, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics, and you will study all of them in every serious chemistry major (even if probably in little less detail than in a physics major). $\endgroup$ – valerio Jan 31 '18 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Chemistry from a physical perspective or Where should a physicist go to learn chemistry? $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Jan 31 '18 at 10:29

One of the fundamental subjects in chemistry is the study of bonds between atoms and molecules, which fall into two main categories: intramolecular and extramolecular bonds.

Both these categories contain several forces of different nature, but they all rely on fundamental physical phenomena you might want to study. For example, the understanding of the more recent theories explaining covalent bonds requires a good understanding of quantum mechanics. Understanding electrostatic forces would mean understanding, well, electrostatics...

I would recommend the Feynman course to have a good first introduction to fundamental physics concepts. I find it enjoyable to read, although I read it after I learned a bit of physics in university, so I might be a little biased towards it by my previous exposure to the concepts...


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