This introductory chapter considers first the relation between molecular reaction dynamics and the major branches of physical chemistry. The concept of elementary chemical reactions at the quantized state-to-state level is discussed. The theoretical description of these reactions based on the time-dependent Schrödinger equation and the Born-Oppenheimer approximation is introduced and the resulting time-dependent Schrödinger equation describing the nuclear dynamics is discussed. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of matter at thermal equilibrium, focusing at the Boltzmann distribution. Thus, the Boltzmann distribution for vibrational, rotational, and translational degrees of freedom is discussed and illustrated.
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