Linda Morris reviews this text on chemistry for the biosciences

Chemistry for the biosciences - the essential concepts
Jonathan Crowe, Tony Bradshaw and Paul Monk (eds)
Oxford: OUP 2006 | Pp496 | £22.99 | ISBN ISBN 0 199 28097 1

Cover of Chemistry for the biosciences - the essential concepts

This text is what it says - essential chemical concepts for students studying the biosciences. These students need a firm grounding in the principles of chemistry to understand fully topics covered in life or bioscience degrees. 

Most existing texts aimed at this area emanate from the US and fail to cover organic chemistry to any useful extent apart from recognition of functional groups. Current general chemistry textbooks tend to be too detailed for these students and can scare them away from anything vaguely chemical when what we are trying to do is show them the pivotal role that chemistry plays in all the life sciences. 

Here, however, is a UK text that covers all the core areas, including basic organic reactions, using biologically relevant examples to illustrate each concept. The chapters are set out clearly with key concepts highlighted and self-test questions interspersed through the chapters to reinforce these concepts. Each chapter finishes with a clear summary of points covered. The extra material included in supplementary boxes is relevant and should encourage further reading. 

The inclusion of chapters on instrumental analytical techniques (HPLC, NMR, IR, XRD, MS) and organic reactions and mechanisms puts this book way ahead of others currently on offer for this area. Anyone involved in teaching a foundation chemistry course, especially for students with a limited chemical background, would do well to consider adopting this as a core text.