The Basics of General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry
David Ball, Cleveland State University
John Hill, University of Wisconsin
Rhonda Scott, Southern Adventist University
Pub Date: 2011
ISBN 13: 978-1-4533110-9-7
Publisher: Saylor Foundation
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Conditions of Use
GOB (General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry) is traditionally taught as either a one-semester or a two-semester format. Based on the preface, read more
GOB (General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry) is traditionally taught as either a one-semester or a two-semester format. Based on the preface, this particular book was specifically written for a one-semester course. This book does a good job covering the subject of GOB; however, the subjects presented are covered at a sufficient depth for either a one-semester or two-semester course. There was no table of contents, index, or glossary (clickable or otherwise) in the PDF that I downloaded from the Open Textbook Library and reviewed. This created a lot of work when navigating within the textbook. There is a section at the end of each chapter devoted to summarizing the chapter including the keywords.
Overall, the content is fairly accurate. There are a few errors in figure designations in the text. For example, there is a reference to Figure 1.2 that details the steps of the scientific method in section 1.2 under “Elements and Compounds”. Either this was an intentional placeholder for the addition of a different figure that describes “Elements or Compounds” rather than the scientific method or this is an error in the placement of this reference. In addition, in the PDF that I downloaded and reviewed, there is a reference in section 1.5 to a hyperlink rather than text stating “Figure 1.7 Measuring an Object to the Correct Number of Digits”. In addition to section 1.5, this type of reference to a hyperlink rather than a title is also found in sections 1.6, 4.6, 9.1, 10.1, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 13.2, 13.5, 18.1, 18.2, 18.3, 18.4, 18.5, 18.6, 18.7, and 18.8. Finally, in Figure 8.4 there is a filled-wedge connecting H and F in hydrogen fluoride. This may be confusing for students especially since the figure is used to describe polar covalent bonds rather than geometry. The wedges are used in the subsequent figure (8.5) to represent geometry.
The core chemistry content in GOB at this particular level should be relevant for a substantial period of time. There are a few instances where there is some obsolescence. For example, in section 4.6 in the “To Your Health” section there is a reference to the Food Pyramid or MyPyramid. This was replaced by MyPlate in 2011, so this content is about 6 years old at the time of this review. However, it would be relatively easy to update this particular section and/or figure.
The text was accessible and provided adequate context to help with understanding the chemical terminology.
This textbook had a consistent set of terminology and framework with just a few exceptions that I could find. In chapter 12, there is a reference preceding Figure 12.2 that requests the reader to recall that the VSEPR theory correctly predicts a tetrahedral shape for the methane molecule from section 4.5. Section 4.5 doesn’t talk about or show the structure or geometry of methane. If the reference were changed from methane to carbon tetrachloride or if methane were added into section 4.5, this would provide internal consistency. The naming of chapter 14 (organic compounds of oxygen) and chapter 15 (organic acids and bases and derivatives) is somewhat problematic in attempting to group related compounds. Carboxylic acids would seem to fit into either chapter, but are contained in the organics acids and bases categories for obvious reasons (i.e. oxygen containing compounds that are acids). Thiols aren’t compounds of oxygen though they are somewhat related as noted in the text and aren’t traditionally placed within the category of organic acids and bases at the level of a one-semester GOB textbook. Esters would seem to fit best in the title for chapter 14, but are traditionally placed in the chapter that contains carboxylic acids since they are related by chemical reactivity (i.e. esterification). It would seem that there could be a more consistent division of content either by using different chapter names for thee existing chapters or by adding an additional organic chemistry chapter.
The text is very modular which is a huge benefit of this text. There is ample division of chapters into sections that can be individually used, abbreviated, or discarded based on the course. While this text is meant for a one-semester course, it would be difficult to cover all of the included content in 15-weeks and achieve student proficiency in each of the sections. Of course, care must be taken not to remove keywords and topics that are referenced in a future chapter if sections are discarded.
The topics are ordered in nearly the same way as printed GOB textbooks. Some instructors prefer the introduction to organic chemistry found at the end of chapter 4 (section 4.6) in this textbook to be shifted to the beginning of chapter 12. The authors did address this placement in their preface and it does show some integration of organic into general chemistry even though that was not their focus. It would seem that this section would need to be reviewed when the students reach chapter 12 which is not a bad thing, but there is a lot of content in the book to cover in the traditional 15-week semester. The other sections that could fit within either a general or organic/biological chemistry chapter are sections 5.6 (redox in organic and biochemistry) and 7.5 (energy of biochemical reactions). If section 4.6 were moved to chapter 12, then 5.6 and 7.5 would likely need to be moved into an organic or biological chemistry chapter as well. In either case, sections 4.6, 5.6, and 7.5 in their present locations don’t present a logical disruption to the flow of the book. One additional note, the use of wedges is first used within a figure in section 4.5 and then again in section 8.4 and 8.5, but the topic of wedges isn’t explained or described until section 12.2.
The vast majority of the figures and tables were free of distortion and were high quality. I only noticed a few instances where the layout of figures or tables spans two pages. The most notable and perhaps distracting instance occurs when a table is not only split between two pages, but one of the rows of content within the table is split between two pages. In all of the instances that I noticed, the table headings are present on both pages of a split table, which certainly helps mitigate some of the distraction. I don’t think these pagination issues would be an issue in an ePUB, but the only format currently available from the Open Textbook Library is a PDF. The lack of other ebook formats is perhaps one of the biggest problems with this particular text. This type of splitting of content within a row across pages in the PDF is seen in Tables 3.4, 18.4, 18.5, and 18.6. This doesn’t seem to be about maintaining a large enough font size because the text in Figures 3.7 and 19.13 is very small. In Table 12.4, the “Condensed Structural Formula” heading is so cramped within its column that the heading is wrapped into eleven rows with a maximum of three letters from the heading in any one row. In addition, the condensed structural formulas are also wrapped within their respective rows potentially causing confusion for students. This same type of wrapping of text of single word can be seen in Table 18.2. In Table 20.1, both the text and structures are all low-resolution bitmapped images. This particular table would definitely benefit from an update. Many of the metabolism specific flow charts (Figure 20.4, 20.12, 20.14, and 20.16) would also benefit from a vector graphic based treatment since the text is hard to read when bitmapped.
There were a few typos found in the text and figures. For example, pyruvate is spelled incorrectly in Figure 20.4.
I did not notice any culturally insensitive or offensive text.
The text lives up to its stated purpose. It covers basic parts of general, organic, and biological chemistry but without much depth. It avoids read more
The text lives up to its stated purpose. It covers basic parts of general, organic, and biological chemistry but without much depth. It avoids frilly language and is written in a style with its audience in mind. The authors' choice of health applications were well thought out and appropriate.
Other than a few minor typos, I couldn't find any glaring errors. Many scanned figures are blurry but still readable and correct.
The authors will likely need to update a few of the very rapidly developing "health applications" to keep it relevant. Overall, however, much of the fundamental theory is well developed and should stand the test of time.
The text's prose is very accessible to the beginning chemistry student. All terms are well-defined and are easily searchable with the control-F function.
Each chapter follows a consistent pattern and each chapter builds well on the previous section.
I'm primarily using this text in the third term of a three term intro to chemistry sequence. Our third term concentrates on organic and biochemical applications. It is very easy to assign readings that skip around the text. The mode of presenting material makes this quite easy.
The text is well organized and consistent.
The only really disappointing part of the text is its interface. The lack of a "clickable" table of contents (or any table of contents as in my pdf version) made it laborious to skip from section to section and seems like it would be a pretty simple fix. It would be nice to add more outside hyperlinks, especially for links to better figures than those included.
Minor typos, but not frequent.
This, like many texts, could benefit from highlighting the contributions of the scientists themselves. I've found that including the humanity of the researchers often makes complex material more approachable to students. As opposed to being distracting and a "diversion", it often helps the students engage better with the material.
Overall, I'm thrilled to have found this OER. It's relatively difficult to find a text this basic and to the point with respect to organic and biochemistry. Most intro gen chem texts don't delve deeply enough into the biological side and organic/biochemical books are too in depth for the course I instruct. I'll definitely be adopting this text. Thank you, authors.
Assuming this book is for an entry level class of students preparing to take a human anatomy and physiology course, it is very thorough in the area read more
Assuming this book is for an entry level class of students preparing to take a human anatomy and physiology course, it is very thorough in the area of chemistry and acceptably thorough in cell biology. There is a complete glossary at the end of each relevant chapter and a complete index at the end of the book.
The accuracy is excellent and up to date. I found no errors or bias.
This book would be very useful for an instructor who wishes to introduce students to the basics of chemistry and cell biology in preparation for enrolling in a more advanced human physiology course. The topics are general enough that they are not likely to become out of date. The inclusion of historical information and descriptions of professional fields related to the topics adds to the relevance.
The logical sequence of information in this book keeps it clear for the reader. The availability of the glossary at the end of each chapter also keeps the terminology accessible and understandable.
The consistency for the most part is very good. There is a break in how chapter questions are organized between the sections on chemistry in contrast to those about biology.
Two large chapters with many subheadings are chapter 3 (general and organic chemistry combined) and chapter 7 (combining nutrition, digestion, energy, reaction rates, photosynthesis and enzymes). Within the subtopics some instructors will probably want to eliminate some details (i.e. calculating pOH, discussion of s,p,d,f orbitals or free energy).
This is a very well organized book and the topics are well connected.
This book is free of any poorly constructed images. The color and detail is excellent. The copy I examined did have a structural problem at the end of chapter 7 where the summary and review questions were repeated.
No errors found
Contributions by more women and minorities could add to the historical notes in this text.
It is always tempting to want to add more to texts we use in our classes. In this case I would have liked to see more details about cellular structure (ER and Golgi Apparatus). I would also add a section to Unit 3 on patterns of human genetics/inheritance.
As the title suggests this book covers the basics of GOB chemistry. It includes all the appropriate material for a one semester GOB course. The read more
As the title suggests this book covers the basics of GOB chemistry. It includes all the appropriate material for a one semester GOB course. The book brings in organic chemistry topics earlier than many books allowing students to see the links between the various branches of chemistry. Roughly half the book is devoted to general chemistry and there is a large focus on metabolism at the end. A table of contents and easy method to move around in the PDF would be preferable.
In general the information in the book is accurate. There are a few typos and minor font issues as with any text.
The scientific information in the book is not dramatically changing. The contents should hold up for many years. The book does a good job of helping students understand the relevance of chemistry in their lives. Each chapter has sections that tell students about various careers in science and how the information relates to human health.
The book is well written and gets right to the important information without being wordy. It is written with beginning students in mind. It could benefit from more particle level diagrams in the general chemistry chapters to help students with the visualization of various concepts. However, I wish some of the diagrams and flow charts made for this text were in more texts.
The book is very consistent in its presentation of topics. It uses the same language throughout to help students link various topics in chemistry. Each chapter points out important terminology with bolded words. Learning objectives, examples, skill-building exercises, concept review exercises, key takeaways and exercises are all clearly labeled and presented in the same order in each chapter.
Each chapter is broken down into small bite-sized chunks of material with many practice exercises. I think students would benefit from this approach. Learning objectives, examples, skill-building exercises, concept review exercises, key takeaways and exercises are all clearly labeled and presented in the same order in each chapter. The lack of an easy way to navigate to each of the chapter sections makes it difficult to move around in the book.
The book is organized in a typical fashion for GOB chemistry books. General chemistry topics are first followed by organic chemistry topics and finally biochemistry topics. The topics in each section are covered in a logical progression.
The lack of a table of contents and an easy way to navigate to each of the chapter sections makes it difficult to move around in the book. Some sections are divided by page breaks. All chapters and sections within them are clearly labeled and color coded.
In general there are no grammatical errors. There are a few typos as with any text.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive.
Currently our college has a year long course for our GOB series 3 quarters). If we had a two quarter GOB I would very seriously consider adopting this book.
This open course textbook introduces the fundamental of general chemistry (measurements, atomic structure, compounds, energy, reactions, etc), read more
This open course textbook introduces the fundamental of general chemistry (measurements, atomic structure, compounds, energy, reactions, etc), introduces structure and reactions of organic chemistry, and ends with rather substantial chapters on biochemistry. My interest is with the general chemistry for a prep class. This book contains all the necessary pieces, good figures, and exercises for the purpose of a fundamental chemistry class. I wish the book had a table of contents with pages to navigate the pdf more effectively
The general chemistry information appears accurate and fundamental.
Introductory chemistry has been fundamentally unchanged. This book present conventional material in a way that can ensure it application. The types of problems are expected for the level of the writing for this book.
The figures in the early chapters (1-5) make the material more straight forward for understanding. The book had bolded words for clarity, and use adequate tone and description for this level.
The text uses the appropriate terms and tone to describe fundamental structure, bonding, and steps for quantitative relationships. I also found the step description easy to follow.
Again the use of a table of contents with page numbers would be helpful here. It is difficult to know how far to "scroll" while working blind on chapter lengths and pages. However, the authors break up the existing text well with figures, captions, and problems to solve. There are heading fr sections, color coding for problems, and obvious organization to the reader.
The flow and organization of the book is logical. The authors begin with basic general chemistry, increasing complexity through compounds, reactions, energy, and acid base solutions, before reaching organic, and biochemistry.
I found a few images to be blurry, but well used. The colored boxes for problems were helpful, but often much larger than the text of the questions. I found this to be somewhat distracting.
I did not find grammatical, spelling, or significant formatting errors.
I did not detect cultural exclusion or offense.
I appreciate the fundamental and straight-to-the-point angle of this book for any GOB class. I would greatly prefer a table of contents for easier navigation.
Overall, this textbook covers all the appropriate topics to the depth necessary for a one semester course on general, organic and biological read more
Overall, this textbook covers all the appropriate topics to the depth necessary for a one semester course on general, organic and biological chemistry. This textbook includes units of measurement, calculations and the mathematics background necessary top promote quantitative thinking without burying the student in problem sets. The only omission is Gibbs free energy. No index, bookmarks or glossary are provided.
No factual or conceptual errors in this test were noted and the topics and concepts were all presented in an unbiased manner. There are a few spaces missing between some the words.
Basic general, organic and biological chemistry are not topics that are rapidly being modified or updates with new findings each year so this textbook will remain relevant for many years. Each chapter and section begins with learning objectives and ends with example problems and exercises and the key takeaway point. Each chapter begins with descriptions of how the chapter topic relates to health and societal issues, most of which are not likely to become irrelevant in the future. The topics are well subdivided so updating any revised sections should be easily done.
The text descriptions of chemical concepts clearly written and set at the appropriate level for the intended audience. All key scientific terms are defined in place and all the writing is direct and clear with a minimum of extraneous verbiage.
This text is written and organized logically and consistently.
As mentioned previously, the textbook topics are divided between the chapters and subdivided with each chapter. It will quite easy for instructors to pick an choose topics and subtopics the wish to assign for their course. Changing the order of topic assignment should present no problems.
The textbook topics and chapters begin with a definition of science, chemistry in the context of all scientific disciplines and core chemical concepts and skills. The text then progresses through the essential general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemical topics with a logical distribution between chapters and in an order that build progressively on previous topics.
The textbook provides no other means than scrolling through the pdf to navigate through the chapters. Clear, consistent color coding and heading are provided throughout.
The text is free of grammatical error. There are a few spaces that are missing, perhaps being lost in the generation of the pdf.
No culturally insensitive content was included. However, the textbook could be improved through more inclusive examples, applications and cultural relevance. For example, health disparities between U.S. ethnic groups and between countries.
This textbook is intended for a one semester survey course, perhaps for pre-nursing students, etc. In addition, I believe portions of this textbook could be assigned for background and review of core general and organic chemistry topics for students in more advanced biochemistry courses.
This text is intended for a one semester general, organic, biochemistry course and as such would not be appropriate for a standalone general read more
This text is intended for a one semester general, organic, biochemistry course and as such would not be appropriate for a standalone general chemistry course, organic chemistry course or biochemistry course. There is no index or glossary.
The text is generally accurate. However, some typos do exist.
The content is generally up to date and updates should be easy to incorporate.
The text is very accessible and technical terms are defined appropriately.
Ionic species representation needs to be consistent.
The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections, however, having an interactive table of contents would be helpful.
The material flows in a logical sequence. However, it is difficult to jump directly to a specific chapter or figure.
Being able to jump to a specific chapter or figure would be beneficial to students.
Some typos exist.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive.
The biological examples are useful. Figures should be numbered so they can be referenced in class.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Chemistry, Matter, and Measurement
- Chapter 2: Elements, Atoms, and the Periodic Table
- Chapter 3: Ionic Bonding and Simple Ionic Compounds
- Chapter 4: Covalent Bonding and Simple Molecular Compounds
- Chapter 5: Introduction to Chemical Reactions
- Chapter 6: Quantities in Chemical Reactions
- Chapter 7: Energy and Chemical Processes
- Chapter 8: Solids, Liquids, and Gases
- Chapter 9: Solutions
- Chapter 10: Acids and Bases
- Chapter 11: Nuclear Chemistry
- Chapter 12: Organic Chemistry: Alkanes and Halogenated Hydrocarbons
- Chapter 13: Unsaturated and Aromatic Hydrocarbons
- Chapter 14: Organic Compounds of Oxygen
- Chapter 15: Organic Acids and Bases and Some of Their Derivatives
- Chapter 16: Carbohydrates
- Chapter 17: Lipids
- Chapter 18: Amino Acids, Proteins, and Enzymes
- Chapter 19: Nucleic Acids
- Chapter 20: Energy Metabolism
About the Book
The Basics of General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry by David W. Ball, John W. Hill, and Rhonda J. Scott is for the one-semester General, Organic and Biological Chemistry course. The authors designed this textbook from the ground up to meet the needs of a one-semester course. It is 20 chapters in length and approximately 350-400 pages; just the right breadth and depth for instructors to teach and students to grasp.
In addition, The Basics of General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry is written not by one chemist, but THREE chemistry professors with specific, complimentary research and teaching areas. David W. Ball’s specialty is physical chemistry, John W. Hill’s is organic chemistry, and finally, Rhonda J. Scott’s background is in enzyme and peptide chemistry. These three authors have the expertise to identify and present only the most important material for students to learn in the GOB Chemistry course.
These experienced authors have ensured their text has ample in-text examples, and ”Test Yourself“ questions following the examples so students can immediately check their comprehension. The end-of-chapter exercises will be paired, with one answered in the back of the text so homework can easily be assigned and self-checked.
The Basics of General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry by David W. Ball, John W. Hill, and Rhonda J. Scott is the right text for you and your students if you are looking for a GOB textbook with just the right amount of coverage without overdoing the concepts and overwhelming your students.
About the Contributors
Dr. David W. Ball is a professor of chemistry at Cleveland State University in Ohio. He earned his PhD from Rice University in Houston, Texas. His specialty is physical chemistry, which he teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels. About 50% of his teaching is in general chemistry: chemistry for nonscience majors, GOB, and general chemistry for science and engineering majors. In addition to this text, he is the author of a math review book for general chemistry students, a physical chemistry textbook with accompanying student and instructor solutions manuals, and two books on spectroscopy (published by SPIE Press). He is coauthor of a general chemistry textbook (with Dan Reger and Scott Goode), whose third edition was published in January 2009. His publication list has over 180 items, roughly evenly distributed between research papers and articles of educational interest.
Dr. John W. Hill is professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. He earned his PhD from the University of Arkansas. As an organic chemist, he has more than 50 publications in refereed journals, most of which have an educational bent. He has authored or coauthored several introductory level chemistry textbooks, all of which have gone into multiple editions. He has also presented over 60 papers at national conferences, many relating to science education. He has received several awards for outstanding teaching and has long been active in the American Chemical Society—both locally and nationally.
Dr. Rhonda J. Scott is a professor of chemistry at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. She earned her PhD from the University of California at Riverside and has a background in enzyme and peptide chemistry. Previous to Southern Adventist, she taught at Loma Linda University and the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. In the past 10 years, she has made several presentations at national American Chemical Society meetings and other workshops and conferences. She has also been very active in the development of teaching materials, having reviewed or contributed to other textbooks and test banks.