Conditions of Use
This book has the main topics for an introductory chemistry book and introduces chemistry appreciation through ideas and examples of real life. It is a basic chemistry concepts book for non-chemistry majors. Each chapter has questions, examples,... read more
This book has the main topics for an introductory chemistry book and introduces chemistry appreciation through ideas and examples of real life. It is a basic chemistry concepts book for non-chemistry majors. Each chapter has questions, examples, and challenge problems. The book's final part has appendixes with appropriate information and a glossary with terms used. However, more illustrations and boxes are necessary to conceptualize the ideas in all the chapters. Chapter 2, when numbers are included, the non-majors in science students sometimes struggle to handle numbers and units. More examples and boxes to visualize the math involved in the use of numbers and units are necessary. Naming compounds is a complex topic for beginners in chemistry. Chapter 3 needs to start with separating matter into pure compounds and mixtures, separating into atoms, molecules, and ions, and introducing how to name them. Atomic theory is an important topic that can be presented with more history and application examples to understand this complex topic better. In general, all the concepts in the chapters need more pictures that exemplify these topics. The videos idea in some parts of the chapters is illustrative and help to visualize the concepts.
The content is accurate and presented in a simple way to be clear for non-chemistry majors. The concepts have been the same since their development. However, the book needs more practical examples and pictures or figures to exemplify the chemistry topics. Sometimes the concepts can be challenging to understand, and it is essential to use simplifications to ease some of these concepts.
The topics are up-to-date. These concepts have been the same since a long time ago; however, it is important to have new examples connecting concepts with our modern world. More discussion could make the book stronger.
The content is written in an easy way to read and in a simplified presentation of chemistry concepts. The introduction of chapters throughout the book is direct and in an efficient form. Each chapter has the learning objectives, definitions, and examples for calculations. The organization of the chapters is up to the authors, but my only advice is to give more examples with pictures and related to our modern society and needs for this era.
This chemistry book is consistent with the terms used and in how the authors presented the content.
The book is divided into short chapters that can help students to understand the bases in chemistry topics. Each chapter has the learning outcomes that will help students to focus on this learning. Each chapter has problems with solutions that will help students to practices their understanding.
The authors keep the chapters in some logical order to introduce chemical principles. The organization of these chapters is to develop one or two concepts that help students digest the chemistry topics more quickly. If I can change the order of the chapters, I will move chapter 16 (organic chemistry) to the last chapter, and the concepts are new and different from the kinetics and thermodynamics. A more visual book help students to understand and learn. Many times images can show the connection between concepts and everyday processes. Most students from non-chemistry majors must be able to comprehend the chemical principles and acquire problem-solving skills. Most of the concepts are not in deep discussion, but it is ok for non-chemistry major students. They need to understand the basics of chemistry and its applications.
I do not see interference issues through the book. The pictures and videos used in the book are good. The text is free of features that can distract when one is reading.
The text contains no grammatical errors.
I do not find negative, insensitive, or offensive cultural references in all the book.
This is rated somewhere between a 4 and a 5. The book is overall reasonably comprehensive for a book geared to non-chem majors. However, some concepts could use more depth or be included, such as: Missing areas that should be addressed include... read more
This is rated somewhere between a 4 and a 5. The book is overall reasonably comprehensive for a book geared to non-chem majors. However, some concepts could use more depth or be included, such as: Missing areas that should be addressed include precision and accuracy when discussing significant figures. The way naming and empirical formula are presented in Chapter 3 does not feel as strong as traditional textbooks, primarily because of the order presented – it would help to move the introduction of atoms, atomic theory, masses, and isotopes to the beginning of Ch. 3. Then move the ionic/polyatomic compounds toward the nomenclature. More clearly identify cross multiplication for ionic compounds; introduce hydrates, more clearly explain the use of Stock nomenclature. This would allow a “bottom-up” approach. Once reagent states for chemical reactions are introduced, the authors do not consistently use them – especially in the end-of-section or end-of-chapter problems. State functions should be introduced in Chapter 7 with enthalpy (as it’s a state function) and can help to detail the relationship to temperature, heat, and enthalpy – and the idea of why doubling a reaction should result in twice as much heat. In chapter 9, having a description of Coulombic attraction should be included to help explain certain concepts such as lattice energy trends. Other than that, Ch. 9 is well done and flows reasonably well with plenty of examples and good descriptions.
Fortunately for general chemistry, the material hasn't really had significant changes to our fundamental understanding in quite some time. This text is consistent with others. I do have two minor issues I would like to see addressed. As with too many general chemistry textbooks, the authors incorrectly identify acids ionizing into an H3O+, rather than the more correct H5O2+ or even H7O3+. We can use the hydronium for convenience, but students should realize that this is still incorrect. Another area I hope the authors remove is the idea of hybridization beyond sp3 because hybridization of the d with p orbitals does not occur due to the energy differences between the atomic orbitals – the authors should mention (that best evidence at this time) is sp3 hybridization with ionic bonding in high flux. Also, it would be nice for the authors to point out that hybridization is a simplified and useful approach, but not completely accurate – but much easier than LCAO.
The authors place an emphasis on why students should care about many of the topics throughout the text. It was interesting to see new examples presented, such as the “Gimli Glider” in Ch. 2 or the Aum Shinrikyo in Ch. 3 or using cesium for dating wine (among others) regarding the importance of unit conversions. However, there is no thorough discussion on environmental chemistry or modern materials. Because the book is targeted to non-chem majors, it doesn't need an in-depth discussion on semiconductors, nanoparticles, or plastics. It would greatly benefit other STEM majors to familiarize themselves with these topics.
I generally find the book easy to read and understand. It helps that there are plenty of examples throughout. Concepts and terms are introduced, and where necessary referenced back to the original concept as the authors realize that some may need refreshers.The chapter 1 introductory material provides some useful background reading for students not really sure why they’re taking chemistry and to give a primer what the book will be covering. Chapter 2 really begins the meat of the subject with units. Throughout the book material is presented in a straightforward and efficient manner. But, to prevent the material from becoming dry to those that aren’t hardcore about the subject, relevant and useful examples are included But I do feel there were issues with some of the presentation order which is addressed under organization
Because of the nature of chemistry, the authors were consistent with terminology and how they present material.
The authors split material up into easily digestible topics that most students should be able to read in less than 15-20minutes, including working through practice problems provided. Like most general chemistry textbooks, there are available exercises at the end of each chapter. Beneficial is that many sections also have problems at the end of each section. Answers are provided for odd-numbered problems at the end of each chapter. There aren’t quite as many problems available as there are in traditional textbooks.
The book organizes material in broad categories with closely related topics kept as much together as possible – one advantage to this approach is that students will be able to focus on one idea at a time. The approach feels to work well for this book as the chapters are laid out in a reasonable concept building, though I would have put nuclear and organic chemistry after the kinetics chapters. The authors make use of QR codes (there are also direct links available) to extra videos that provide a brief overview for each section allowing for a full distant learning experience. Considering the likely target audience, Chapter 7 was another well-done chapter for most students. It doesn’t needlessly provide depth that other textbooks may have, but it presents most material in an efficient, orderly, and easy to grasp manner. And because gases were already introduced before energy, it is possible to now have limiting reagent problems involving work and heat unlike other textbooks that often introduce gasses much later. Ch. 8 is setup very different compared to many other “electronic structure” chapters. And in this case, I don’t think it’s good. This chapter would benefit from being taught via a “historical” concept introducing ideas as they were discovered beginning with work function/binding energy. Having the electron configuration prior to quantum numbers (at least to me) moves the fundamental building block out of order. While important, limiting de Broglie and Schrodinger relationships is good as most undergraduate chem students will not benefit from this material. One trend that should be added in a future version are isoelectronic atoms and the concept of cations becoming smaller and anions becoming larger (there are useful images that highlight these changes). I also would like to see a more in-depth discussion on effective nuclear charge as this can really lay the groundwork for many of the other trends of the periodic table. Chapter 10 could use a bit more expansion on the intermolecular forces and how they influence the physical properties. This section was also incomplete as ion-dipole and polarizability were not included. It would make more sense to introduce colligative properties after concentration units. If it were just the concept of “why you’re learning this,” that would be fine, but the introduction of math requiring units that had not been taught (molality) is highly unusual. Plus - it makes more sense to have colligative properties and osmotic pressure merged with van’t Hoff factor. The serious discussion of acids and bases, dilution/neutralization after solutions is better than many text books. Some try to move this earlier. This book limits acid/base discussion just to naming. But again, I feel the authors order of presentation could improve. Move buffers until after the pH scale (it makes sense to have this right after autoionization of water). Show a visual scale with the strength of acids. Introduce the Lewis Acid and Lewis Base definition and how this relates to Bronsted-Lowry definitions. The equilibrium chapter is good to have right after as it allows for a good discussion on buffers and solubility products. But the discussion of buffers can be built up more now that it was introduced in the previous chapter. Putting chapter 17 after equilibrium would be useful at this point since the concepts are related. This will also be useful for explaining half-life with nuclear chemistry from a more fundamental perspective. As with an earlier chapter, there are formatting issues with some equations (in the pdf at least). For chapter 14 – a good chapter, but again, I do not understand why oxidation and reduction reactions are introduced at the end of the chapter. This should be the first part of the chapter setting everything else up. Chapter 15 is one of the more complete, but not overly burdensome chapters, compared to other textbooks making it ideal for introducing the concept for general chemistry students that may not be chemistry majors.
Regarding the presentation, the pictures format is of general good to high quality. The pictures are unique compared to some other textbooks and in many more cases more readily approachable and interesting. Nitpicks include some of the flow charts, or larger equations being blurry and of a lower production quality (i.e. Fig 1.6 among others). Additionally, there was more than one font and not consistent sizing of the text. The spacing between problems, equations, or figures could be improved in some areas (i.e. 1.1 where each problem and multipart problem lacks the clear visual separation between problems; almost all reaction equations in the text). The degree C symbol does not have a space between the number and unit – it should. Pg 300 (and a few others) – an equation not properly formatted is present (in the pdf). These items were distracting to me when reading. But they do not take away from the quality of the content presented.
Other than the occasional mixing of some English/American version of spelling (e.g. vapour/vapor), there were no major grammar issues.
There are, as far as I could tell, no negative cultural references. In fact, the examples that are used would help to build a better cultural understanding as they highlighted chemistry in a variety of countries and cultures throughout history without any allusion to good or bad.
This is a review on the David Ball’s and Jessie Key’s 1st edition of Introductory Chemistry that has had some sections updated in 2014. My review is of the pdf version. This book also comes in epub and html versions. This is a book I am currently using as a supplemental book for my students, especially for students to be provided alternative explanations on some concepts from myself or the text book our department uses. To me, it's biggest strength comes from attempting to make material relevant and practical. However, even for a non-majors course, it would need some improvements to become an adopted textbook
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1. What is Chemistry
- Chapter 2. Measurements
- Chapter 3. Atoms, Molecules, and Ions
- Chapter 4. Chemical Reactions and Equations
- Chapter 5. Stoichiometry and the Mole
- Chapter 6. Gases
- Chapter 7. Energy and Chemistry
- Chapter 8. Electronic Structure
- Chapter 9. Chemical Bonds
- Chapter 10. Solids and Liquids
- Chapter 11. Solutions
- Chapter 12. Acids and Bases
- Chapter 13. Chemical Equilibrium
- Chapter 14. Oxidation and Reduction
- Chapter 15. Nuclear Chemistry
- Chapter 16. Organic Chemistry
- Chapter 17. Kinetics
- Chapter 18. Chemical Thermodynamics
About the Book
The goal of this textbook is not to make you an expert. True expertise in any field is a years-long endeavor. Here I will survey some of the basic topics of chemistry. This survey should give you enough knowledge to appreciate the impact of chemistry in everyday life and, if necessary, prepare you for additional instruction in chemistry.
About the Contributors
Dr. 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 percent 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. Jessie Key is a professor of chemistry at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia. He received his Ph.D from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, and his B.Sc (Hons.) from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. Jessie’s main area of research expertise is chemical biology; with a focus on fluorophore synthesis, cellular labelling and bioassays. He currently teaches general chemistry and organic chemistry at Vancouver Island University, and does research on the use of technology in chemical education.