• Class Number 3650
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Edie Sevick
    • Prof Edie Sevick
    • Dr Nick Cox
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

Physical chemistry aims to understand the structure, properties and transformations of matter, from bulk behavior down to mechanisms at the molecular level. It is the role of the physical chemist to collect, collate and analyze experimental data from all branches of chemistry and to construct predictive models. As such, physical chemistry underlies much of modern science and is a motor driving advances in a very wide range of fields. Building on information and concepts from chemistry, physics and mathematics, physical chemistry contributes to and is stimulated by areas as diverse as medicine, molecular biology, biochemistry, molecular engineering, chemical engineering, materials science and earth sciences." (Société Francaise de Chimie - Division de Chimie Physique)

The course will provide the foundations of physical chemistry, with a strong focus on developing a skill base necessary for the construction, analysis, and interpretation of experimental data, as well as a practical understanding and use of predictive models.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have gained knowledge and skills to:
1. Predict and measure/analyse bulk properties of gases and liquids using equilibrium thermodynamics.

2. Understand and assess the fundamental operation of a machine driven by chemical processes, using the Second Law.

3. Predict equilibrium transitions and recognise/analyse these transitions in both natural and engineered systems, using equilibrium free energies.  These transitions include gas-liquid-solid transitions in single component systems, as well as in multiple component systems, and the partition of components between co-existing phases.

4. Understand the limit of classical descriptions of light and matter and the subsequent role of quantum mechanical descriptions in physical chemistry.

5. Calculate and analyse the translational, rotational and vibrational motion of microscopic particles using simple quantum mechanical models.

6.Predict, using models of simple atoms and molecules, the arrangement  of electrons and their motion as revealed in experimental spectroscopy.

7.  Use quantitative, predictive models for diffusion, viscosity, and thermal conductivity, and verify with measurement.  Understand the role of physical transport of mass, heat, and momentum in a chemical context.

8. Quantitatively analyse kinetics of reactions involving mechanisms which are consecutive and competitive, as well as more complex mechanisms.

Required Resources

Atkin's Physical Chemistry by Atkins, de Paula, & Keeler, Oxford Press, 11th Edition.

Laptop computer

Mathematica, see Wattle site for instructions on download

Python, see Wattle site for instructions on download

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • quizzes (automated feedback provided on wattle)
  • practicals (personalised feedback provided on wattle)
  • mid-term exam (feedback by appointment)
  • problem-solving (feedback by lecturer & students within workshop)

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Workshop Summary, Wk 1-12

Follow the week's Lesson Plan (released a week before the workshop) and complete tasks which include:

  • Understand Lecture videos and/or reading assignments.
  • Take the Quiz, which includes >5 questions/problems: it will close at the advertised time.
  • Attend and participate in the workshop, where a marked quiz will be administered. 

Bring to each workshop:

questions or comments particularly about misunderstandings of the week's content writing materials, paper, and a laptop for Wattle-based short quizzes

Bring to each practical materials as listed on Wattle

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Properties of Ideal Gases Quiz
2 Kinetic Theory of Gases Quiz, Mathematica Prac
3 Non-Ideal (Real) Gases Quiz
4 The First Law of Thermodynamics Quiz, Python Prac
5 The First & Second Law of Thermodynamics Quiz
6 Carnot Cycles & Free Energies Quiz, Joule-Thomson, Mid-Term
7 Failings of Classical Mechanics Quiz
8 Introduction to Concepts in Quantum Quiz, Quantum
9 Introduction to Schroedinger's Equation Quiz
10 Chemical equiliibria Quiz,Spectroscopy
11 Chemical Kinetics Quiz
12 Reaction Mechanisms Quiz, ITC

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Weekly Wattle Quiz 25 % 24/02/2020 29/05/2020 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Practical Reports (6) 25 % 24/02/2020 29/05/2020 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Mid-Term Exam 25 % 30/03/2020 24/04/2020 1,2,3,4
Final Exam 25 % 04/06/2020 02/07/2020 5,6,7,8

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date for mid-semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held; the due and return date for end of semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and the date official end of Semester results are released on ISIS. Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 24/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 29/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Weekly Wattle Quiz

Note the conditions of each question/problem in the quiz

Multiple attempts are usually allowed with varying degrees of penalty for wrong attempts.

Because inputs are chosen randomly for each student's quiz, your classmates correct solution is not necessarily your correct solution. 

Students may be randomly allocated different sets of quiz questions.

You must open and attempt the quiz at least once before the workshop: it will close at the advertised time. 

The date range for this task indicates the open date for the first quiz, and the return date for the last quiz. There are 24 quizzes administered over the semester:

• 12 weekly quizzes are administered with each week's lesson plan. These quizzes contain 5-8 questions/problems with multiple attempts allowed, and are open for 10 days. To receive a mark on the quiz, at least one attempt must be made before the workshop. At the advertised closing date, student will receive immediate, automated feedback and solutions.

• 12 short (single attempt) quizzes are administered within the workshop, requiring the student's attendance at the workshop. These short quizzes are marked immediately upon submission.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 24/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 29/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Practical Reports (6)

Follow instructions in the Practical section on WATTLE. 

Each practical consists of at least two weekly meetings.

Practical reports should be prepared according to instructions on WATTLE, using Mathematica and/or Python notebooks. 

All reports must be submitted through WATTLE.

The date range for this task indicates the open date for the first report, and the return date for the last report. There are 6 reports due over the semester. Marked reports will be returned within 10 days after submission. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 30/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 24/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Mid-Term Exam

The mid-term covers the first 6 weeks of the course. Allowable materials at 3 hour exam are

calculator, pen/pencil

A4 sheet of handwritten notes, double-sided

Please check Wattle or the ANU final Examination Timetable to confirm the date, time and location of the mid-semester exam.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 04/06/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 5,6,7,8

Final Exam

The final exam covers last 6 weeks of the course. Allowable materials at 3 hour exam are

calculator, pen/pencil

A4 sheet of handwritten notes, double-sided

Please check Wattle or the ANU final Examination Timetable to confirm the date, time and location of the mid-semester exam.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

All assessment items must be submitted on-line through the Wattle site. Lecturers are not able to accept submissions posted by email. Please keep a copy of your submission.

Hardcopy Submission

No hardcopy submissions are possible.

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of practical reports without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of practical reports is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date. Late submission is not accepted for quiz assessments.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

All feedback, including personalised marking of reports, is returned through the Course Wattle grade book.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

No resubmission is allowed.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Edie Sevick
6125 0508

Research Interests

Soft Matter, Statistical Mechanics

Prof Edie Sevick

Monday By Appointment
Thursday By Appointment
Prof Edie Sevick

Research Interests

Prof Edie Sevick

Monday By Appointment
Thursday By Appointment
Dr Nick Cox

Research Interests

Dr Nick Cox

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions