MAS157 Mathematics for Chemists

Semester 2, 2019/20 10 Credits
Lecturer: Dr Alastair Williamson uses MOLE Timetable Reading List
Outcomes Teaching Methods Assessment Full Syllabus

This module is designed for Chemistry Students. The module aims to reinforce students' previous knowledge and to develop new basic mathematical techniques needed to support the Chemistry subjects taken at levels 1 and 2.

(Note: this module and MAS154 are taught together.)

Prerequisites: A-level mathematics (or equivalent)

The following modules have this module as a prerequisite:

MAS248Mathematics III (Chemical)

Outline syllabus

  • Permutations and combinations
  • Binomial theorem
  • Vectors
  • Hyperbolic functions
  • Differentiation
  • Integration
  • Series
  • Complex numbers
  • Matrices

Learning outcomes

  • Be able to calculate permutations and combinations
  • Be able to apply the binomial theorem to series expansions and limits
  • Understand vector algebra and be able to apply it to simple geometrical problems and to resolving forces
  • Be able to manipulate hyperbolic functions and their inverses, and to carry out differentiation and integration involving hyperbolic functions and their inverses
  • Be able to integrate using partial fractions, and to apply Simpson's rule
  • Be able to verify solutions of simple ordinary differential equations
  • Understand the concept of convergence of infinite series, and be able to test it using the alternating series test and the ratio test
  • Understand and be able to use complex algebra
  • Understand matrix algebra and be able to apply it to the solution of systems of linear equations, and to be able to find matrix eigenvalues and eigenvectors

Teaching methods

Lectures, tutorials, independent study

20 lectures, 10 tutorials


One two-hour written examination for 80% of assessment.
All questions are compulsory.
Two marked homeworks for 20% of assessment.

Full syllabus

Permutations and combinations

with simple probability applications.
The Binomial Theorem
Pascal's Triangle, binomial theorem for positive integer exponents, extension to arbitrary real exponents, application to limits.
Definition, magnitude, elementary algebra, component form, unit vectors, scalar product, angle between vectors, application to resolving forces, equations of lines and planes, vector product, scalar and vector triple products, a simple application to circular motion and angular momentum.
Hyperbolic functions
Definition in terms of exponentials, identities, inverse hyperbolic functions.
Inverse functions, hyperbolic functions and their inverses. Applications including Newton's 2nd law of motion, simple harmonic motion, radioactive decay, energy states of a particle in a 1D box.
Hyperbolic functions, use of hyperbolic functions in integration by substitution, use of partial fractions, Simpson's rule.
Convergence, alternating series test, ratio test, Maclaurin and Taylor series.
Complex Numbers
Definition, conjugate, algebra. Argand diagram, modulus and argument, polar form. The Euler relation, De Moivre's theorem, roots of complex numbers, simple loci.
Definitions (including diagonal and identity matrices), algebra, determinants, inverse matrices, homogeneous and non-homogeneous systems of linear equations, Gaussian elimination, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

Reading list

Type Author(s) Title Library Blackwells Amazon
B Cockett and Doggett Maths for Chemists Volume 1
B Cockett and Doggett Maths for Chemists Volume 2
B Croft and Davison Foundation Maths
B Croft and Davison Mathematics for Engineers 510.2462 (C) Blackwells Amazon
B Stroud Engineering Mathematics 510.2462 (S) Blackwells Amazon

(A = essential, B = recommended, C = background.)

Most books on reading lists should also be available from the Blackwells shop at Jessop West.


Mon 16:00 - 16:50 tutorial (group ch1) K14 Hicks Building
Mon 16:00 - 16:50 tutorial (group ch2) Dainton Graduate Research Centre (GRC) Seminar room
Mon 17:00 - 17:50 lecture   Hicks Lecture Theatre 1
Thu 11:00 - 11:50 lecture   Hicks Lecture Theatre 1