A foundation chemistry textbook

Rob Lewis and Wynne Evans
Palgrave Macmillan
2011 | 496pp | £27.99 (PB)
ISBN 9780230291829

Cover of Chemistry (4th edn)

This book is designed to cover the basics of chemical literacy for students studying access and foundation courses or for those who need a general understanding of chemistry. It covers a wide range of topics from the traditional inorganic, organic and physical subject areas, as well as common calculations and measurements associated with laboratory work. In addition, it contains a number of special interest topics such as forensic and pharmaceutical chemistry.

With such an ambitious scope, this book does well giving a basic introduction to most areas of chemistry. Each chapter includes clear objectives and starts at a level that an able GCSE student should understand. The size of the book and the use of colour and informal language makes it appear less daunting.

Each chapter contains example questions and exercises so students can test their knowledge and finishes with a set of revision questions. There are also references to the companion website which contains appendices of extension material, case studies of applications and even videos of experiments to illustrate the theory. The additional information provided in the boxes throughout each chapter adds interest and allows students to see the concepts they are learning in a real world context. All these features support students in developing their understanding whilst also allowing the most able to be stretched.

In several areas the book provides a good introduction to the first year of a chemistry degree. The chapters on spectroscopy, units and measurements and separations would be good revision for any first year chemistry undergraduate and would help with many topics encountered in practical classes. In addition, the chapters on atomic structure and bonding guide students through the basic Bohr model to bonding in simple molecules and even onto VSEPR theory, which is often taught in the first year. The organic chemistry chapters contain a good introduction to naming conventions and functional group interconversions, although I was a little disappointed that nomechanisms were introduced.

Overall the book is successful in achieving its aims and would be an excellent workbook forstudents from foundation courses through to first year undergraduates.

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