Fundamentals of atmospheric modeling

Chemistry: an introduction for medical and health sciences
Alan Jones
Chichester, UK: John Wiley | 2005 | 270pp | ?80.00 (HB) | ISBN 0470092882
Reviewed by Ian Cunningham

Despite its title, this book has difficulty deciding on its target readership. The back cover suggests students and practitioners in medicine, pharmacology, pharmacy and the biomedical and health sciences. However, the level is firmly GCSE and it is unrealistic to expect such a wide appeal. It is better described as a self-study guide for nursing and healthcare workers whose chemistry has become a distant memory and it seems especially suitable as a preliminary text for a mature student returning to education for a biomedical degree.

The book treats topics with a light touch and is divided into bite-sized chapters, making a convenient read. Importantly, the relevance of the chemistry to nutrition, medicine and healthcare is emphasised throughout. Chapters are organised around traditional topics covering organic, physical and analytical chemistry (eg organic compounds containing nitrogen, acids and bases, numbers and quantities) but there are also chapters (eg vitamins, steroids, hormones and enzymes) of specific interest to the healthcare reader. 

The daring approach of covering covalent bonding and organic chemistry first seems to work. Chapters begin with an example of chemistry within a biomedical context and although the approach is descriptive rather than explanatory, in a refresher or preliminary text it is sensible.

The book has a dull appearance and a grey-tone figure of DNA early on is so poorly resolved as to be redundant. There are also irritating errors, a particular problem in a book geared towards student self study, since the reader does not have lectures, tutors or fellow students for backup. I was dismayed to see the configuration prefixes D- and L- quoted as indicating dextro- and laevo-rotatory rotation of plane-polarised light!

All-in-all, however, Chemistry: an introduction for medical and health sciences is a light, readable and worthwhile book, provided it is targeted at the appropriate niche audience.