Atkin's physical chemistry (8th edition)

Atkins’ physical chemistry (8th edition) 

Peter Atkins and Julio de Paula 

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press 2006 | 1094pp | ?39.99 (SB) ISBN 0198700725 

Reviewed by David Rowley 

The latest (eighth) edition of this venerable textbook sees a change in emphasis. The subject is developed less from the traditional viewpoint of, for example, classical thermodynamics, but more from a ’molecular level’ in which bulk physico-chemical phenomena are developed from quantum mechanics and spectroscopy. 

This seems a sensible change, and one implemented without sacrificing the comprehensive coverage of all of the subjects’ foundations. Indeed, the book now also includes new impact sections emphasising the relevance of the fundamentals in current topics such as nanoscience and global warming. Several other features have been developed to help the reader, including self-tests, examples and discussions. 

At a more advanced level, the justifications have been kept from previous editions, and impressive further information sections introduced to provide additional material. Online resources are also provided. 

Another significant change in the book is the careful and sensitive use of full colour. Thus the book has an organised and approachable feel to it, and the illustrations are clear. 

This book is suitable for first and second year undergraduates. With the reorganisation of the science and the visuals, together with the accessibility and clarity of the text, it should continue to hold its place as the market leader in undergraduate physical chemistry.