The power of thermodynamics to describe chemical processes—like reactions and phase transitions—is so great that it still fills much of the material that we teach in general chemistry courses. It's useful to understand that atoms and molecules exist as indivisible objects—up to chemical bonds—which allows us to create balanced reactions that also reflect energy transactions. So what need does a chemist have for any other physics? Sadly, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Journal of Physical Chemistry (founded in 1896) and their editor—Wilder Bancroft—answered this question in the negative well beyond the 1920's. Lest you think that Bancroft was a heretic, it is important to note that he was a graduate student of Ostwald and a postdoc of van't Hoff! Under Bancroft's rule, the Journal defined physical chemistry as only that science which involved the use of thermodynamics to understand chemistry. Pretty powerful, yes, but also limited.
(This is the fourth post in a series starting with the first one on interdisciplinary sciences.
Click here for the previous post.)