Environmental chemistry at a glance

Environmental chemistry at a glance

Ian Pulford and Hugh Flowers

Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing 2006 | 144pp | ?17.99 (SB) ISBN 1405135328

Reviewed by David Harwood

Environmental chemistry is both a popular option on chemistry degree courses as well as an integral part of BSc environmental science degrees. It should also be essential study for any serious student of a degree with environmental in its title. 

Hence, this book is relevant, timely and ought to appeal to a wide undergraduate readership. The ’at a glance’ series aims to facilitate the rapid assimilation, understanding and recall of critical concepts, facts and definitions, using a succinct format, and does what it says on the tin.

Pulford and Flowers divide the subject into nine areas: chemistry of the surface environment; soil; sediments; water; atmosphere; biosphere; chemical physical and biological interaction; environmental cycles; and pollution. These sections are helpfully broken down into 52 topics in the contents section which is also backed up by a good index, making it quick and easy to locate a subject of interest. Despite the succinct style and a mere 132
A4 pages, good use is made of diagrams, structures and tables, so that the book is user friendly
and not overly dependent on text. 

On the down side, the focus of Environmental chemistry at a glance is on factual material and there is little attempt at depth or explanation of the concepts that lie behind. What the book does very well, however, is to provide an overview of each topic in a double page layout. It would be very suitable as an adjunct to lecture or other learning material for undergraduate students, and could also serve well as revision notes and/or as an aide memoir.