Chemistry for the biosciences

Chemistry for the biosciences 

Jonathan Crowe, Tony Bradshaw, Paul Monk

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press 2006 | 594pp | ?22.99 (SB) | ISBN 0199280975 

Reviewed by Gary Silkstone

The authors of this textbook have attempted to provide a book to help biology-based science undergraduates to understand most of the important concepts in chemistry. 

I would say that the concepts in the book have been tackled thoroughly, and are presented in an enthusiastic and approachable manner. The authors, in my opinion, have taken some quite difficult subject matters (eg moles, equilibria, kinetics) and made them potentially understandable and sometimes enjoyable to read. Quite often in this textbook the authors validate why a particular subject is probed as deeply as it is, and I feel this is a good thing because it can often leave students with a better understanding of that subject overall.  

I have a few minor grievances. For example, in one of the figure legends it is implied that mass spectrometry is a good technique for detecting relative abundance, but in my experience this is often not the case.  

On the whole, I believe that this textbook is well written and would more than adequately provide the necessary chemistry to aid undergraduate students in biology-based degree schemes.  

One of the textbook’s main strengths, I feel, lies in its ability to describe quite difficult concepts using suitable clear and often innovative illustrations and relative text. However, I consider the authors a little ambitious in claiming that this textbook could be understood by students with only a limited science background (eg GCSE level), because the depth to which some of the topics are dealt would probably still make them difficult for such students to understand.  

I would consider this textbook more suitable for undergraduates with a minimum of an A-level in science.