Ann Lewis-Kell reviews the new edition
Chemistry for dummies (2nd edn)
Hoboken, New Jersey, US: Wiley 2011 | Pp384 | £14.99 (PB | ISBN9781118007303
Reviewed by Ann Lewis-Kell
This recent publication from Wiley is aimed at the US market. It would be suitable for post-16 students who wish to improve their chemical knowledge either as a supplementary resource or to improve their understanding of where the subject fits in to the world around them, for example by looking at what you can do with a chemistry degree.
The book is divided into five sections over 22 chapters. The use of margin icons help the reader to prioritise their learning needs, eg the tip icon for focusing on the easiest way to solve a problem or the remember icon for the most important facts that should not be forgotten.
Many of the topics are currently studied at AS, A2 and International Baccalaureate level eg chemical calculations, matter and energy, atomic structure, periodicity, gases, bonding, shapes and radioactivity.
At the end of the second chapter the author gives a clear and concise explanation of how to handle significant figures. The fourth chapter on atomic structure is good, especially the section on the quantum mechanical model and the shapes of orbitals. This links very well with the molecular orbital theory covered at the end of the chapter on molecular geometry and hybridisation.
Other topics that are explained well include the polarity of molecules and how to write chemical formulae. There is a useful overview of air and water pollution. Although there are no chapters on organic chemistry or nanotechnology, these areas may be covered in further editions.
I especially enjoyed the last few chapters on famous chemists, useful chemicals and the great chemical discoveries. The glossary at the end of the book is comprehensive and a useful learning tool in its own right.
This is not the book for the more visual learner, but I found it readable and would recommend it as a book that is good value for money and one that would be a useful library or departmental acquisition.
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