Mark Winter reviews this guide for first-year undergraduates
The Periodic Table at a glance
Mike Beckett and Andy Platt
Oxford: Blackwell 2006 | Pp120 | £17.99 | ISBN 1 405 13299 X
This book is a revision guide aimed largely at first-year undergraduates. The format is A4-sized two-page spreads (no colour) and covers various topics within inorganic chemistry. Organised primarily around the Periodic Table, many of the topics address the chemistry of an element or element grouping. Other topics focus upon key concepts underlying the chemistry of the p- and d-block elements, atoms and bonding, and industrial processes and applications of the element groupings.
I enjoyed dipping into these sections. The p-block section is organised by Group and tends to concentrate on oxidation states and the nature of hydrides, oxides, and halides. Some areas are expanded into their own topics, such as boranes and silicates. In contrast, the d-block elements are not covered by Groups but as a series of topics, including oxidation states, coordination compounds, reactions of aqua ions, isomerism, crystal field theory, magnetic properties and colours.
The strengths of this text are that the writing style is clear and descriptive and that the book is well organised around key topics. The authors have concentrated on presenting facts rather than concepts. Given its strengths, this book should appeal to students looking for a way to organise their thoughts about inorganic chemistry in the period leading up to exams. So long as the intended audience understands that this revision guide sits alongside a textbook and not as a replacement, then The Periodic Table at a glance will be a useful addition to students' personal libraries.