I got interested in Chemical Reaction Theory by studying the lecture notes of Feinberg and related papers for my bachelor thesis and want to dive deeper into that subject.

Are there any books you would recommend for doing so? I would really appreciate it. I'm looking for something which emphasizes the mathematical aspects but also gives good actual chemistry examples or references.

So far I found a book by Peter Érdi & Janos Tóth from 1989 called "Mathematical Models of Chemical Reactions: Theory and Applications of Deterministic and Stochastic Models", which does just that. However I fear it is a little outdated as it seems there has been quite some progress in that field recently. So maybe there isn't even a book out yet as the theory seems relatively fragmented.

Do you know more?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The book you mention is tough, besides books just on chemical kinetics (of which there are many) for a more fundamental approach try (a) Steinfeld, Fransisco & Hase, 'Chemical Kinetics & Dynamics' (b) Levine & Bernstein 'Molecular Reaction Dynamics and Chemical Reactivity', (c)Eyring, Lin & Lin, 'Basic Chemical Kinetics', (d) for a statistical approach Gillespie 'Markov Processes' which describes algorithms for one of the best ways to simulate complex chemical reactions. $\endgroup$
    – porphyrin
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. Yes, I'm a mathematician and interested in a more fundamental approach. The book by Steinfeld, Fransisco and Hase looks really good. I will work with it and the book by Èrdi and Tóth. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ The keyword you are looking for is "reaction dynamics", that is the name of the branch of physical chemistry that does molecular level modelling. The Levine book mentioned in the earlier answer is a good one. Another one I'd suggest is Miller's Dynamics of Molecular Collisions. But in fact, what I'd say is to look at research articles in this topic. I really do suggest you run through some selected papers from William Miller - he is probably the most influental researcher in the modern field of reaction dynamics. $\endgroup$
    – user23638
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I will look into him. Most of the stuff that I know so far is from papers anyways :) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ Personally I did not like the Levine book. The writing style was not for me, and the heavy use of really, really, really long footnotes was extremely inconvenient... If you need to put half a page of information in a single footnote, clearly it's important, so just include it in the main text! $\endgroup$
    – Yoda
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


If you are up for some fun and want to learn about unimolecular reactions (e.g., rearrangements decompositions after energy absorption) then you should try Theory of unimolecular and recombination reactions by RG Gilbert, SC Smith. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications (1990).


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