Maths for chemistry

The chemistry maths book

Erich Steiner

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press 2008 | 668pp | ?28.99 (SB) ISBN 9780199205356 

Reviewed by Dudley Shallcross 

In his book Maths for chemistry: a chemist’s toolkit of calculations, Paul Monk describes the first edition of Erich Steiner’s The chemistry maths book as the Rolls Royce of its kind. With so many mathematics books for undergraduate chemists on the market, Steiner’s is by far the most comprehensive and the longest. 

It is written with great care and attention to detail with many interesting historical quotes and observations. I cannot think of a topic that a student on the most mathematical of chemistry courses may encounter that is missing. Each chapter is clearly written from a mathematical perspective with numerous examples (both worked and exercises). Full answers are provided on the web as well as just the numerical answer at the back of the book. Several revisions, mainly small modifications, have enhanced the book, although the lack of colour and small diagrams is a drawback. 

Whilst I am inclined to move my copies of Boas (Mathematical methods in the physical sciences) and Stephenson (Mathematical methods for science students) to higher shelves and replace them with Steiner as my stock mathematics book, I cannot envisage a student without A-level mathematics being able to engage successfully with the book. Some students with A-level may also struggle as it is definitely mathematics first and chemistry context second. Therefore, this is a superb reference work for able mathematicians and especially those carrying out research that requires a range of mathematical skills. Every library and probably most research groups in physical and theoretical chemistry would benefit from having a copy. It fills an important niche at the high end of mathematical ability. 

Chemical calculations. Mathematics for chemistry (2nd edition) 

Paul Yates 

Boca Raton, US: CRC Press 2007 | 366pp | ?19.99 (SB) ISBN 9780849391644 

This book provides an undergraduate text of the mathematical concepts and techniques used by chemists, arranged by chemical topic, for example thermodynamics, kinetics and quantum mechanics and spectroscopy. Worked examples are included, together with end-of-chapter exercises and detailed solutions. This second edition features additional, revised and updated material in every chapter.

Fundamentals of biochemical calculations (2nd edition) 

Krish Moorthy 

Boca Raton, US: CRC Press 2008 | 179pp | ?19.99 (SB) ISBN 9781420053579 

This book gives undergraduate students and scientists a thorough grounding in the calculations used in biochemistry, cell biology and allied biomedical sciences. All the chapters contain solved problems and show detailed calculation steps, useful comments and mathematical hints. This second edition has three new chapters covering laboratory-oriented calculations and data presentation, calculations relating to the emerging techniques in DNA and molecular biology, and applying the ratio method to pharmaceutical calculations.