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Module FXX-2205:
Physical 1

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Keith Hughes

Overall aims and purpose

Covers the core principles of group theory including their application to chemical bonding and leading into (extended) Huckel theory. Further develops concepts in kinetics.

Course content

Dr K H Hughes and Dr C D Gwenin (18 lectures) - The use of symmetry in chemical bonding and chemical reactivity is illustrated through specific examples. A large part of the lectures are concerned with the quantum mechanical theory of chemical bonding. The principles of quantum mechanics necessary for an appreciation of modern chemical bonding theory are introduced, applied and exemplified. The simplifications which arise, and the additional insight gained from application of symmetry considerations are stressed and exemplified. The discussion of the underpinning quantum mechanics given here, particularly the 'variation theorem' and associated methodology for solution of the Schroedinger equation, is sufficiently general for application in other areas of chemistry to be understood. A discussion of the pi-electron theory of organic molecules is also included including the consequences of molecular structure and energy.

Dr PJ Thomas (6 lectures) - The kinetics of simple chain reactions and photolytic reactions as examples of chain reactions are examined.

Assessment Criteria


Threshold (40%). Knowledge and understanding of the content covered in the course is basic; Problems of a routine nature are generally adequately solved; Transferable skills are at a basic level.


Good (~60%). Knowledge base covers all essential aspects of subject matter dealt with in the module and shows good evidence of enquiry beyond this. Conceptual understanding is good. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved in a logical manner; solutions are generally correct and acceptable. Performance in transferable skills is sound and shows no significant deficiencies.


Excellent (>70%). Knowledge base is extensive and extends well beyond the work covered in the module. Conceptual understanding is outstanding. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved with efficiency and accuracy; problem-solving procedures are adjusted to the nature of the problem. Performance in transferable skills is generally very good.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students should be able to: Show familiarity with character tables and symmetry group operations.

  2. Students should be able to: Characterise kinetics in simple and photolytic reactions.

  3. Students should be able to:

    1. Show an understanding of irreducible and reducible representations of molecules.
  4. Students should be able to: Use character tables in chemical bonding .

  5. Students should be able to: Show fundamental understanding of linear combinations, including linear combinations of atomic orbitals.

  6. Students should be able to:

    1. Show solid foundation in assigning proper basis representations chemical problems at hand and subsequent reduction to an irreducible representation.
  7. Students should be able to: Show fundamental understanding and use of (extended) Huckel theory.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Examination 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy


The module has 24 hours of lectures. Contact time 24 hours, private study 76 hours.

Private study

private study


Transferable skills

  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.

Subject specific skills

  • CC4 The ability to recognise and analyse problems and plan strategies for their solution
  • CC5 Skills in the generation, evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of chemical information and data
  • CC6 Skills in communicating scientific material and arguments
  • CC8 The ability to adapt and apply methodology to the solution of unfamiliar problems
  • CP4 Skills in the monitoring, by observation and measurement, of chemical properties, events or changes, and the systematic and reliable recording and documentation thereof
  • PS1 Communication skills, covering both written and oral communication with a variety of audiences
  • PS2 Skills in the employment of common conventions and standards in scientific writing, data presentation, and referencing literature
  • PS3 Problem-solving skills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information
  • PS4 Numeracy and mathematical skills, including handling data, algebra, functions, trigonometry, calculus, vectors and complex numbers, alongside error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations, systematic use of scientific units and different types of data presentation
  • PS8 Time management and organisational skills, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective ways of working
  • PS6 Information technology skills which support the location, management, processing, analysis and presentation of scientific information
  • SK2 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of fundamental physicochemical principles with the ability to apply that knowledge to the solution of theoretical and practical problems
  • SK3 Gain knowledge of a range of inorganic and organic materials
  • SK6 Develop an awareness of issues within chemistry that overlap with other related subjects
  • SK9 Read and engage with scientific literature
  • SK10. Development of project-specific experimental skills.
  • SK11. Reading and engaging with scientific literature.
  • CC1 the ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of essential facts,concepts,principles and theories relating to theSubject areasCovered in theirProgramme


Talis Reading list

Reading list

"Molecular Symmetry and group theory" any edition by Alan Vincent (Wiley) "Symmetry and structure" by Kettle (Wiley) "Physical Chemistry" any eidtion by PW Atkins

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Co-requisite of:

Courses including this module