Text book developed with Asia-Pacific students in mind

Chemistry: the central science 

Theodore Brown et al

Frenchs Forest, Australia: Prentice-Hall Australia | 2007 | 1238pp | ?44.99 (SB) | ISBN 9780733974595 

Reviewed by Tom McCreedy

This introductory text book has been developed with Asia-Pacific students in mind, featuring aspects from the local environment and the work of Australian and New Zealand chemists. 

The book covers many of the general chemistry areas within its 25 chapters, including stoichiometry, chemical bonding, thermodynamics and electrochemistry. The last five chapters are dedicated to organic chemistry. Each chapter commences with a section called ’What’s ahead’, allowing the reader to see what they will encounter as the chapter progresses. I found this feature very useful because of the informal style of this introduction. 

Information is provided in a clear manner with many diagrams and worked sample exercises while at the end of each chapter are numerous self study problems. At the rear of the book are several appendices containing useful information, a glossary and the answers to the selected problems. Finally the comprehensive index is easy to use.  

Though the personal profiles of the people featured are mostly from the Asia-Pacific region, the chemistry would be as useful to a student in London, UK, as a student in Melbourne, Australia. I found the text book interactive with lots of ’give it some thought’ questions interspersed through the text. 

A CD-ROM accompanies the book, allowing the user to see animated diagrams and to practice various tasks. While each animation and exercise is clearly marked in the text, my one frustration was that these features were in a different order on the CD-ROM. This was only a small niggle and overall I found the book enjoyable to read and quite comprehensive. 

With a list price of ?44.99 it is somewhat expensive (particularly since it is softback), but would certainly be well worth considering as an introductory textbook.