Best physical chemistry book

Best physical chemistry book DEFAULT

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Best Physical Chemistry Textbook: Top Reviews of

Chemistry is a vast subject and unlike other courses, it has several branches such as biochemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, etc. Although some people find organic chemistry challenging, most of the students find physical chemistry courses more challenging. As the name suggests, physical chemistry is the field of study that uses the concepts of physics to understand the phenomenon in chemical systems. People with mathematics or physics background can find this study easy, but for the people with no such knowledge, it can be tough to understand the concepts thoroughly. 

Physical chemistry covers many topics such as quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, chemical equilibrium and much more. To understand these concepts, one needs to invest in a good physical chemistry textbook for learning the basics. Students opting for this book often complain about the lack of reading or study material to understand the subject better. But you would be surprised to know that there are many textbooks available today that explain the topics of physical chemistry brilliantly. 

Best Physical Chemistry Textbook

 So to make it easy for the students as well as the people who want to learn this subject, I have curated a list of best physical chemistry textbooks that can be helpful for the aspiring chemists. Check out these options given below and choose according to the topics you want to learn in physical chemistry.

1. Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach 

Physical Chemistry

The number one choice for the students looking for a physical chemistry textbook is this one that has a molecular approach of making things easy to understand. It covers major topics of physical chemistry such as thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and kinetics. The book efficiently uses the basics of these subjects to help the students learn. The new edition of this book also features the recent research topics done in physical chemistry, along with several problems and solutions. It helps in quick learning as it focuses on knowing and getting the basics correctly before jumping into the advanced courses. If you are someone who wants to learn quantum mechanics and thermodynamics thoroughly, then this book by McQuarrie is worth the money. The striking feature of this book is that it doesn&#;t assume that students know the basics and uses an atomic approach to teach the concepts.

  • The textbook includes a special set of MathChapters to help in understanding and to summarize the mathematical tools used in Thermodynamics.
  • The book has been organized and arranged very logically to maintain the flow of concepts.
  • It introduced quantum mechanics with a detailed explanation that makes it easy for the students to learn.
  • The approach of this book is unique and perfectly fits the title of the molecular approach as it helps in studying the fundamental principles of physical chemistry.
  • It can be helpful to people with no chemistry background also as it is quite easy to follow.
  • This textbook is suitable for chemistry students as well as professors.
  • As mentioned, the book focuses on three major topics of physical chemistry and doesn&#;t cover any other topics of physical chemistry.
  • By from Amazon

    2. Atkins&#; Physical Chemistry Textbook

    Atkins’ Physical

    Another excellent option that one can consider for getting a physical chemistry textbook that can help you with understanding the basics with ease is this one by Atkins. This edition of the book focuses on the concepts of thermodynamics and kinetics. Many reviewers have said that the book is smartly divided into smaller sections for a better and quick understanding. The discrete sectioning used in the book can help the professors as well as students to learn the physical chemistry concepts. The book explains the core of physical chemistry using a simple yet interesting approach. There are several other editions available for this book, so make sure to check other ones if you are interested in learning the courses other than kinetics and thermodynamics.

    • This edition of the book has been reorganized for making it easily understandable for the teachers and students.
    • The book also has additional math support and other learning features for the students to learn the basics with ease.
    • One can easily read and understand the concepts with the help of this book due to the well-illustrated figures.
    • This textbook got its latest edition recently and is also used in universities for chemistry courses.
    • Students also liked this textbook due to the solution manual that comes with it.
  • Some students might find this book pricey.
  • By from Amazon

    3. Physical Chemistry by Ira Levine

    Physical Chemistry by Ira Levine

    The next popular option among the students for understanding the fundamentals of physical chemistry is this textbook by Ira Levine.  It is designed to make the learning process easy for the students as it is written in an organized manner. This physical-chemistry textbook is suitable for undergraduate students to learn the basics and to get a clear idea about the fundamentals of physical chemistry.

    • The book is easy-to-follow and can be beneficial for students to obtain in-depth knowledge of the subject.
    • There are clear step-by-step derivations and explanations provided for making the students familiar with the mathematics involved.
    • The latest edition of this textbook also features a review section for both maths and physics.
    • The students can learn quickly with the help of worked examples provided in the book, along with a practice exercise.
  • Few students found this book difficult to understand because of the formal language used in the book.
  • By from Amazon

    4. Physical Chemistry Textbook by David W. Ball

    Physical Chemistry by David W. Ball

    While there are many textbooks available for Physical chemistry, this second edition by David W. Ball is a value for money purchase. A chemistry researcher and educator himself has written it, and that is reflected in the book too. There are two editions for this book that can be helpful for the students to understand the core physical chemistry. The textbook is made to provide the students with concise yet thorough knowledge of physical chemistry and its concepts. This alternative can be a good alternative for the undergrad students taking up physical chemistry courses.

    • The book has quite an easy to read approach and also focuses on the core topics of physical chemistry.
    • It has been traditionally organized for quick learning and for using it for
    • This textbook can help students with knowing the basics of quantum along with thermochemistry
    • This edition of the book also features new problems, examples and dynamic design for using it as a quick learning tool for the students.
    • The book is affordable and also includes a review section of the calculus that can be applied to physical chemistry.
  • Some buyers recommend buying either the first edition or the second one, as the book might have some overlapping topics.
  • By from Amazon

    5. Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, and Kinetics

    Physical Chemistry Thermodynamics

    The last physical chemistry textbook on this list is this one by Andrew Cooksy. He has made sure to use the engaging presentation style and precise explanations to make the concepts clear. It can help the students learn the mathematical concepts of the subject with ease as compared to the other options on this list. The textbook also features a review of Calculus in the first chapter that can be beneficial for the students with no math background. The students praised the book for its review section in each chapter regarding the topics that are previously covered.

    • The textbook can be helpful for the students who want to understand the basics of thermodynamics with the help of statistical mechanics.
    • The author uses a brilliant narrative and explanations of the mathematical derivations to make the learning process easy.
    • Many students found this book engaging due to the approach used by the author in writing and organizing the chapters in the book.
    • It uses the interrelationship between theoretical and mathematical reasoning to understand physical chemistry concepts.
    • The book also has several worked examples and sample experiments in every chapter to aid the students in understanding the concepts clearly.
  • There are some typos and errors in this textbook. 
  • By from Amazon

    Closing Thoughts

    Physical Chemistry is a subject that needs a clear idea about the fundamentals. Using a mathematical approach, one can learn these concepts with ease. All the books mentioned above are rated as the best physical chemistry textbooks due to the novel approach used by the authors for making the learning easy. Most of these books concentrate on Thermodynamics and Quantum mechanics, which are the basics of physical chemistry. Choosing any one of the books will be helpful for the undergrad students in their first year for the physical chemistry credits. Professors also use these books in many universities.

     However, the option number one Physical Chemistry: A molecular approach by McQuarrie would be my top pick due to its overall organization and the writing style. The book covers all the topics and is also easy to follow. I hope this blog helps you to find the suitable physical chemistry textbook for your course.


    About Priyanka

    To read, write and know something new every day is the only way I see my day! Well, that rhymed. Hey folks, this is me, Priyanka, writer at Geometry of Molecules where I want to make Chemistry easy to learn and quick to understand. Having an MSc degree helps me explain these concepts better. I write all the blogs after thorough research, analysis and review of the topics. And if not writing you will find me reading a book in some cosy cafe! View all posts by Priyanka →

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    Best Books on Physical Chemistry

    Physical Chemistry or Numerical Chemistry is one of the subjects that the candidates have to answer in the entrance exams mandatorily. This subject is considered the toughest of subjects the candidates are tested in the exam. One could refer to the best books for Physical chemistry to ease their preparations. However, physical chemistry is a branch of chemistry with a combination of math and analysis chemistry, making it hard for many students to master this subject.

    Due to the non-availability of exclusive physical chemistry books for a majority of the candidates, it becomes difficult for candidates that are naturally weak in chemistry. Very few books that mainly focus on physical chemistry concepts are available in the market.

    ~Chemistry is necessarily an experimental science: its conclusions are drawn from data, and its principles are supported by facts. Michael Faraday~

    Table of Contents

    Best Books on Physical Chemistry for JEE

    IIT JEE is one of the most popular entrance exams in the country. The exam is conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) every year to offer admissions into the 23 IITs and 30 NITs located in India's major state and union territory. The IITs are one of the prestigious institutions in the country established by the government of India. The main course offered in all these IITs is engineering. Engineering is the most preferred course of study due to the growing IT industry, infrastructure, and increased industries and companies that mainly employ engineers.

    Every year around 22 lakh candidates register while around 9 lakh appear for the examination. The high population of potential students appearing for the exam increases the competition, and one must study hard to crack the exam. Scoring very high marks is necessary to secure the lowest rank possible to get a seat in an IIT. One must crack both jee mains and advanced to get into IIT. The JEE examination score is also accepted by most other colleges and universities in India offering engineering courses. The lack of in-depth understanding of physical chemistry proves a hindrance to many candidates, which leads them to score low marks costing their dream IIT seat.

    Let us now look into some of the best books on Physical Chemistry best for JEE preparation.

    Physical Chemistry by O.P. Tandon

    This is considered to be the best book available in the country which deals with the in-depth concepts in the subject of Physical Chemistry. There are two official authors for this book, they are - A.S. Singh, O.P. Tandon. The book is very simple to understand as the English used in the books is very easy to read. The book also explains almost all the concepts of the Physical Chemistry subject. It also has a large number of problems after each related chapter with relevant solutions in the ending pages of the book. This book is also followed by a large number of students preparing for the JEE advanced exam and also appearing candidates.

    Physical Chemistry by P. Bahadur

    P. Bahadur is a well-known author who has already published many books in the subjects of physics and chemistry. He also wrote the book on Numerical Chemistry and is considered as one of the best books in the country on the subject of Physical Chemistry. The above-mentioned book is useful for the JEE advanced exam than that of the mains examination as the concepts of that book are very in-depth in nature. But this book is perfectly suitable for the preparation of both JEE mains and the advanced exams. This book also contains problems along with the detailed solutions at the end of the book.

    University Chemistry by Bruce H. Mahan

    This book is used as a textbook for the subject of chemistry in a lot of universities and colleges across the country. This book became popular only because of the numerical chemistry section which it has in detail and is presented as a different section in the textbook. This book has some of the best discussions on the topics that are very difficult to put out in the words. The majority of the colleges use this book only for the section of physical chemistry and use some other books for the general chemistry. You can now imagine the level of the subject that this book offers.

    Modern Approach to Chemical Calculations by R.C. Mukherjee

    This book also has a nickname and it is called HC Verma of Chemistry. HC Verma is considered to be the best book in the subject of maths. All the candidates appearing for any competitive exam that has maths will go through HC Verma Mathematics Book. This modern approach to Chemical Calculations by R.C. Mukherjee is the contemporary of HC Verma in the subject of Chemistry. This book is the latest one óf all the books mentioned in this list.

    Modern Approach to Chemical Calculations is also the most updated book, which has all the concepts very new to date. The explanation in this book will be like no other one as it will be simple and on to the point. There will be very little to no complexity in the sentences, It is said that the preparation would not be complete if the candidate missed solving problems from this book. The book is one of the best to thoroughly understand the Mole concept.

    A number of IIT JEE aspirant refer to this book because of its depth and understanding. The book is unrestricted and goes on to explain concepts very neatly and even cover a lot of concepts. Some of the IIT JEE questions is also similar to this textbook which is why it is very popular among students.

    Physical Chemistry by P.W. Atkins

    This is the only book on the list that has a foreign author. This book is considered to be one of the toughest books in the subject of Chemistry and the problems in this book are of a very high level. the book is quite dense and interactive an intimate with the reader. For a first-year, the books may seem fairly tough but over time and with the increase in the understanding of the concepts, the books will be a lot easier and will definitely make the concepts crisp and clear. A lot of people fail to solve them in the first attempt or without looking into the solutions before solving the problems. So, it is advised not to practice problems from this book. But people can read this book for its solid theory part which will make you understand the concept and basics very clearly.

    Best Books on Physical Chemistry for NEET

    National Eligibility cum Entrance Test NEET (UG), conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA), is an entrance test for admission into MBBS, Dental, Ayush courses across India. Candidates would be tested on class 11th and 12th subjects of Physics, chemistry, botany, and zoology. Here too, Physical Chemistry is a challenging subject for the aspirants. Though the syllabus of both JEE and NEET are the same. The way of asking the questions is different. While JEE needs deeper analysis to solve problems, NEET is rather simpler.

    Listed below are the suggested books that can help aspirants make physical chemistry easier and solving problems simpler.

    1. Physical Chemistry by O.P. Tandon
    2. Physical Chemistry by P. Bahadur
    3. Errorless Chemistry NEET by Universal Books

    Errorless Chemistry NEET by Universal Books

    Errorless Chemistry NEET by Universal Books is a one-stop destination book for medical aspirants. The book is authored keeping in mind the syllabus and exam pattern defined by National Testing Agency (NTA) and NCERT.

    The book comprises a comprehensive theory of each chapter and the following,

    • Fully Solved Questions of KVPY
    • NCERT Exemplars
    • Last 32 Years of Medical Examinations

    Best Physical Chemistry Books for Graduates

    Physical Chemistry enthusiasts, postgrads, and those who love to have a deep understanding of this subject can refer to the books listed below. These books have a deeper understanding of almost all physical chemistry concepts and are levelled at the graduate and postgraduate levels. The information and explanation is very detailed and profound.

    The books listed below constitute some of the best books on Physical Chemistry preferred by professors and students worldwide.

    1. Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach by Donald A. McQuarrie and John D. Simon
    2. Atkin's Physical Chemistry by Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula, and James Keeler
    3. Levine's Physical Chemistry by Ira N. Levine

    Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach by Donald A. McQuarrie and John D. Simon

    If you are a beginner and are searching for the right book to understand physical chemistry concepts, this is the best one you can find out there. The book is best for concepts of Thermodynamics and Quantum; the concepts are explained in a manner easily understood. The book starts with math, followed by chemistry. Hence you can find the required math in the book itself, which dissolves the need to find math from other sources. The concepts are presented clearly, and the question of confusing the readers does not arise. It is a must-have book for all ardent chemistry lovers.

    Atkin's Physical Chemistry by Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula, and James Keeler

    Atkin's Physical Chemistry book has two volumes. The 1st volume consists of thermodynamics and kinetics, while the 2nd volume consists of Quantum Chemistry, Spectroscopy, and Statistical Thermodynamics. For those who want to strengthen their basics. The concepts in this book run deeper than McQuarries Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach.

    Levine's Physical Chemistry by Ira N. Levine

    Levine's Physical Chemistry book makes Physical Chemistry easy, consists of stepwise derivations, and all problems carefully explained. The book is widely used for its understandable explanation.


    What Is The Best Physical Chemistry Textbook? (Updated )

    Here comes probably the scariest part of chemistry college programs for many students: physical chemistry. And around it, the most frequently asked question: what is the best physical chemistry textbook that you can get?

    Some other students find are more intimidated by organic chemistry. However, most chemistry students are not incredibly fluent in maths, so all those physical chemistry equations can seem a bit overwhelming.

    Physical chemistry isn’t the easiest subject to learn; it might frustrate you at times. Very basic and important concepts such as thermodynamics and kinetics are often overlooked in basic chemistry courses. However, if you have the right tools, in this case, the right books, you will have no problem whatsoever studying and passing exams. 

    For this review, we will look at some of the best physical chemistry textbooks. For better or worse, it doesn’t seem to be a huge variety to choose from, in contrast with what happens with organic chemistry or general chemistry textbooks. So this comparison review will be quite concise, focused on the three most recommended physical chemistry reference books.

    In any case, it does not matter if you are a college professor with a physical chemistry course to teach, or a student who is looking for a solid book to study from, either way, you are covered.

    Our Top Pick: Which Book Is the Absolute Best?

    After having used all the reviewed books, it didn’t take us long to choose McQuarrie’s Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approachas the absolute best way to study, learn or teach physical chemistry.

    top pick
    top physical chemistry book mcquarrie

    Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach


    McQuarrie is definitely the king. The red book, even being still on it’s first edition, is undefeated as the best book to learn physical chem. I know many students that had another books defined as course assignment text, but turned to McQuarrie’s to really be able to grasp everything and ace the courses.

    McQuarrie’s is just the way to go in most situations, you cannot go wrong with it.

    The Best Physical Chemistry Books Reviewed

    And now we jump right into the entire reviews!

    1. Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach

    Authored by Donald A. McQuarrie and John D. Simon, this chemistry book is, without a doubt, the most logical and best physical chemistry book you will find anywhere. If you are a beginner, and you plan on getting your feet wet in physical chemistry, this book is an excellent choice.

    mcquarrie physical chemistry

    Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach


    The book is logically organized, and its concepts are clear and very easy to follow. The math, which is also clear and easy to follow, comes before the physical chemistry chapters. For beginners, I find this helpful because rather than assuming you learned the math elsewhere, the book explains it to you. And there are adequate mathematical reviews at the end of each math section that you can go over. 

    For more advanced students or courses, you aren’t left out. This book is the go-to textbook in the area of Thermodynamics and Quantum. I have never seen quantum chemistry explained in any other book as beautifully and enjoyably.

    There are many problems on each chapter. You can grab a copy of the problems and solutions manual for McQuarrie here. Many say it is a must if you are interested in focusing on solving problems (which are the main part of courses and exams), or if you are an instructor.

    What Makes McQuarrie’s Physical Chemistry the Best?

    After explaining the mathematical equations in the math chapters, the book then introduces the fundamentals of quantum theory with explanations. And then base everything else on a microscopic, atomic/molecular standpoint. And this is revolutionary because it helps students to see the subject in a unified and logical fashion, not leaving them confused. As you are probably aware, quantum chemistry and thermodynamics cover many concepts which are difficult to grasp. But not so much with this book. It takes an approach which I feel is the easiest way to learn these concepts.

    All in all, I’d say that this book is a must-have physical chemistry textbook that most students of chemistry or college professors and should have on their book shelf. 

    I’ve even hear a story of a non-chemist science enthusiast that grabbed a copy of this book and found it to be highly entertaining and instructive! It leaves you with a great feeling on how chemistry works from a (sub)atomic point of view.

    To finish, the only drawback is the fact that the book hasn’t been updated since first release, so the figures can be a bit ugly and sometimes not easy to understand.

    2. Atkin’s Physical Chemistry

    Next runner up is Physical Chemistry by Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula and James Keeler. Now, here’s an updated and nicely illustrated textbook.

    It comes in two volumes. The first one covers thermodynamics and kinetics. On my case, I studied quantum at college before thermodynamics and kinetics, so it seemed to me a bit counterintuitive. But I guess the two-volumes distribution was established for exactly this kind of situations.

    This is nice, so you only have to buy and handle a pages book for your thermodynamics and kinetics courses.

    atkins physical chemistry vol 1

    Atkins’ Physical Chemistry Volume 1: Thermodynamics and Kinetics


    The second volume covers quantum chemistry and spectroscopy. It goes on for a little less than pages, and focuses on the physical chemistry itself, not too much in the math behind. it gives just enough to be understandable with a solid base. But you’d better be equipped with that skillset!

    atkins physical chemistry vol 2

    Atkins’ Physical Chemistry Volume 2: Quantum Chemistry, Spectroscopy, and Statistical Thermodynamics


    Atkins’ books excel in probably being a bit easier to read than McQuarrie’s. It reads pretty much like a novel, and the well illustrated modern figures definitely help. Besides, the book was updated in with its 11th edition. These are probably the facts that make Atkins’ the most ubiquitous textbook as part university courses syllabus. It’s a great primary resource.

    It goes less in depth than McQuarrie’s, but it is arguably easier to read and a bit less dry.

    The corresponding Student Solutions Manual also makes Atkin’s text complete.

    3. Levine’s Physical Chemistry

    I would say that Physical Chemistry by Ira N. Levine is the third most widely used physical chemistry book over the world. This book aims at making the learning process as easy as possible.

    levine physical chemistry book

    Levine’s Physical Chemistry


    It comes with stepwise derivations and all maths quite carefully explained. Does a better job than Atkins’ but still not at the level of McQuarrie’s.

    This book is on its 6th edition, but this update was released in It is written on a more formal or more dry manner than Atkins’, but this also makes it pretty specific and concise most of the times.

    However, I would not recommend this text over the other two. It does a good job, but Atkins’ and McQuarrie’s do it better.

    Closing Up

    In summary, whatever textbook you select for guarding you from mighty physical chemistry, be aware that these courses can be a real challenge.

    Just put enough time into studying and you will be fine. Also, make sure to have a decent base on maths (especially calculus) before taking physical chem courses. If you put time, have a good base, and one of these great textbooks, you will do fine.

    In terms of comparison, we have already stated how McQuarrie’s Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach is the winner of the race. It is simply the best book for learning the subject from scratch, since even the math is explained carefully. It is particularly wonderful for quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics.

    Even if your course ask you to follow Atkin’s or Levine’s, McQuarrie’s makes up for the best supplement.

    On the other hand, Atkins’ can be arguably considered as the best “starting point” book out of the three. That is probably why it is the most recommended one for university courses.

    This is all from our side. Make sure to check our general guide for learning chemistry. You can find there plenty of other resources that we have published or updated recently.

    And also, please, if you have any comment or suggestion, or another book that you would like to see reviewed, go ahead and hit the comments section!

    Filed Under: Education and ConceptsTagged With: physical chemistry


    Chemistry best book physical

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    Best Books For Chemistry - JEE Mains - JEE Advanced - Unacademy JEE - Paaras Thakur

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