Wai-Kee Li, Yu-San Cheung, Kendrew Kin Wah Mak and Thomas Chung Wai Mak 

Oxford University Press

2012 | 328 pp | £32.50

ISBN 9780199658503

The determination of a molecule’s structure is a key concept in chemistry, and one that often involves the analysis of numerous sources of information. Perfecting these skills requires not just an understanding of the principles involved, but also practice and experience. While many textbooks exist in the field of organic structural determination, my personal experience has found that texts on inorganic structural chemistry are under-represented. As such, Problems in structural inorganic chemistry is a very welcome addition to the realm of undergraduate level textbooks. 

The book is designed as an accompaniment to the previously published theory text Advanced structural inorganic chemistry, but while a link to the topics covered in that text exists, I found that the problems in the book were presented such that the book can easily act in a standalone manner. A large number of problems and solutions aimed at the later year undergraduate to early graduate level are presented. The illustrations are in black and white but are clear, of very high quality and not over-used. Reflecting the target audience, the problems are challenging and would definitely stretch students, but they are well explained by the comprehensive solutions. 

Overall, I feel that this would be a valuable resource for both students and lecturers in institutions where in-depth structure elucidation is taught in later years. Some of the chapters tend toward heavily mathematical explanations, which serve to highlight the links between inorganic and physical chemistry. However, this does mean that it may not be suitable for all courses as the knowledge required to answer some problems may not have been covered. It would, however, be of particular use and interest to the student wishing to follow the field beyond degree level. I suspect it would also be a welcome addition to the shelves of lecturers on the topic – I will certainly be using it for inspiration in problem solving classes.

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