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How the Course Is Organized

The mathematics course in the first year in chemistry consists of the Maths Labs, plus plenary lectures and non-computer-based tutorials. In the lectures and tutorials there is, on the whole, less explicit chemistry content than there is in the Labs. Each Lab session lasts for three hours, and students attend one a week while the course is active (a total of 11 weeks, split among the three terms of the academic year). In addition, students have open access to the computers at certain other times if they need it.

The first two weeks are taken up by a six-hour introduction to Mathematica. Even here, we have tried to make the content explicitly chemical. Animations are covered through a study of molecular vibrations, for example. Three-dimensional plotting is applied to simple quantum wavefunctions representing, say, orbitals in atomic hydrogen. In these introductory sessions the chemistry is there purely in order to help motivate the core work. Although this is a function it serves throughout the course, we ask rather more of it--and of the students--from week three onwards.

The rest of the course consists of seven modules, some of which are designed to represent three hours' work, and some six. In each, one or more topics in mathematics are approached via one or more problems drawn from a branch of physical chemistry.


Converted by Mathematica      September 30, 1999

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