91950 M-F 10:00-11:30AM

Physical Chemistry I
Dr. Vanden Bout
Summer 2008

Instructor: David A. Vanden Bout
Office: WEL 3.151
Office Hours: MW 12-1

TA: Micah Glaz
Office: WEL 3.150
Office Hours: TTh 12-1
micahglaz at

Textbook: Physical Chemistry 8th Edition, Peter Atikins

Topics to be Covered:
Week1 Chapter 1-2
Week 2 Chpater 2-3
Week 3 Chapter 4,5
Week 4 Chapter 6
Week 5 Chapter 7

Final Exam : Comprehensive - all covered chapters

WEB PAGE:      (case sensitive!)

Course Material

CH 353 is a first-semester course in physical chemistry that covers the basics of thermodynamics. The course will mainly cover ideal systems in an effort to clearly describe the concepts. While some aspects of non-ideality will be discussed, they are presented to give exposure to these ideas rather than a comprehensive understanding. The course will progress in three major stages. The first portion will cover the fundamentals of thermodynamics and the concepts and applications of conservation of energy (the first law) and energy in chemical reactions. The second portion will deal with entropy and free energy. The last section will deal with solutions and physical and chemical equilibria. In the text, this will cover everything through the first seven chapters.


Homework problems will be posted on the webpage on Monday. A key will be posted on Wednesday before the quiz. Homework will not count for your grade. However, not doing the homework is a sure fire method for bombing the quizzes.


There will be five one-hour quizzes and a final exam. The quizzes will be given during the normal class time. The quizzes will be on Fridays every week (except the first week we won't have one. The last two will be on Thursdays. The dates are set. Plan accordingly. The quizzes will not be comprehensive in the sense that they will not ask question that only cover material from earlier parts of the course. They will however expect you to remember this material. Everything builds upon previous material.

Final Exam

The final will be comprehensive


The basis for the grades will be the quizzes. Your lowest quiz score will be dropped. If your final score is higher than your second lowest quiz, it will substitute for this quiz score. This will not be the case if it is a zero. You can drop one zero, but not two. To make it perfectly clear, if you have two zeroes on quizzes one will count toward your final grade. The breakdown will be as follows: Each quiz will be 200 points, the final will be 200.

800 points Best Four quizzes
200 points Final
1000 points Total

The grade assignments will be based roughly on the class median. Above the median will be A’s and B’s. Below C’s, D’s, and F’s. The majority will be B’s and C’s. If you do the work, you should get a B or C. If you work hard and excel you can get an A. If you try your best not to do any work you will be able to get a D or F. (This generally involves some combination of the following: not doing homework, never asking for help, getting scores below a 100/200 on quizzes). The quizzes comprise all of your grade. If you bomb the quizzes will not do well. If you ever get a score below a 100/200 on an quiz you should come and see me so we can figure out where things can improve. Please note, this is not a competition against each other. The median score is merely a guideline to grade assignment. In large classes the grade distributions tend to be the same year in and year out. In the past the typical class median has been around 65-70%. However, in the event that the entire class excels then the B-C cutoff will be moved below the median.

Student's With Disabilities

Please notify me of any modification/adaptation you may require to accommodate a disability-related need. You will be requested to provide documentation to the Dean of Students' Office, in order that the most appropriate accommodations can be determined. Specialized services are available on campus through Services for Students with Disabilities.

Religious Days

Religious holy days sometimes conflict with class and examination schedules. It is the policy of The University of Texas at Austin that the student must notify each instructor at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates he or she will be absent to observe a religious holy day. For religious holidays that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, the notice should be given on the first day of the semester. The student may not be penalized for these excused absences but the instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to complete satisfactorily the missed assignment or examination within a reasonable time after the excused absence.


If you get caught cheating in any way whatsoever you will have to discuss the situation with me. I will arive at a pentaly and deem if the problem warrants a formal report. If you deny the allegation, I will proceed by filing a formal report to the Judicial Services in the Dean of Students Office as is policy. The final penalty would be decided by Judicial Services after a hearing on the matter. For more information read the General Information Catalog about scholastic dishonesty (i.e. cheating). If found "guilty" the University can go so far as to bar you from enrollment for life. Take home lesson, don't cheat.