The molecular concept has become so central in chemistry that understanding of chemical events is commonly assumed to consist of relating experimental observations to micro events at the molecular level, which means changes in molecular structure. In this sense molecular structure is a fundamental theoretical concept in chemistry. As the micro changes are invariably triggered by electron transfer, the correct theory at the molecular level must be quantum mechanics. It is therefore surprising that a quantum theory of molecular structure has never developed. This failure stems from the fact that physics and chemistry operate at different levels and that grafting the models of physics onto chemistry produces an incomplete picture.
Although the physics model may give a reasonable qualitative account of chemical concepts, such as chemical cohesion, it fails at the quantitative level, because essential factors are ignored. The most important factor is the environment. The free atom of physics represents a universe, completely empty, except for a solitary atom. Such an atom can never explain chemical effects, which occur because of the interaction of an atom with its environment. When the total environment is taken into account one deals with the familiar classical macro world. Between the two extremes is chemistry and it is important to know whether to describe chemical entities, like molecules, in classical or non-classical terms.
KeywordsMethane Crystallization Mercury Benzene Cage
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