Basic Chemistry (Zumdahl, Steven S.)

chemistry courses. The author has done an admirable job of pre- senting basic chemistry to students who probably have no inten- tion of continuing the...
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reviews Basic Chemistry

The texts can be highly recommended for the lower level general chemistry course and for high school ehemistry courses.

Steven S. Zumdahl. D.C. Heath: Lexington, MA. 1991. xv r 560 pp. Figs. and tables. 21 x 23.5 cm. Basic Chemistry a n d Basic Chernistry-ALternnte Edition are identical, paperbound texts with the exception that the AZternate Edition has three additional chapters that describe equilibrium, acids and bases, and oxidation-reduction reactions and electrochemistry. The texts are aimed a t students who have had no prior chemistry courses. The author has done a n admirable job of presenting basic chemistry to students who probably have no intention of continuing t h e i r education i n chemistry, chemical engineering, or other sciences. The texts could be used for high school chemistry courses a s well as for the lower level university course. The texts are inadequate far the course far scientists and engineers. The author has made a major effon to explmn the basics of chemistry with clarity. 1%- texts arc lngmlly organizrd and attractiwly presented The Chemistry In Firus seCtions throughout the texts are particularly interesting in that they are used to relate the material described in the texts to practical situations. Another nice feature of the texts are the Self-Check Exercises that follow many of the Example problems. These Exercises allow the students to solve problems similar to those worked out in the example problems. The detailed solutions to the Self-Check Erercises are listed a t the end of each chapter. The answers to the even numbered end-of-chapter problems are listed a t the back of each baak. The remainder of the review is limited to a description of the differences between these texts and other texts designed for the same students. The use of a decimal point a t the end of numbers containing zeros to the left of the decimal is used to indicate that the zeros are significant, e.g., 200. is used to indicate that the number contains three significant figures. Specific gravity is not described although density is described. Credit is given only to Mendeleev for development of the periodic table. A flow chart is used to determine the procedure for naming binary compounds of different types. VSEPR is described; however, hybrid orbitals are not described. Gaseous pressures are described in units of vsi (as well as other units) butno mention of psig is made. The dlseriptian of crvstalline structures in chanter 16 is verv brief and none of the usual descriptions of the tipes of crystalline materials (cubic, fcc, etc.) is included. The first description of molarity is in chapter 16 intheAlternateEdition. I t is not described in the other text. Neither text contains a description of kinetics and the associated calculations. In chapter 17 the Lewis definitions of acids and bases are not included but the more easily understood Arrhenius and Bronsted-Lowry definitions are presented. Rules far assigning oxidation numbers are not described until chapter 18, but the oxidation numbers are used for nomenclature i n chapter 5.The texts contain Amendices with sections devoted to u s k a calculator, basic algebra,-the use of scientific notation, graph& functions, and SI units and conversion factors. Aglossary of terms used in the texts is also included. The major strengths of the texts are the clarity of the writing and the unusually good presentations of basic chemical principles.

R. D. Braun University of Southwestern Louisiana Lafayette. LA 70504 The Study of Change: Chemistry in China, 1840-1949 James Reardon-Anderson.Cambridge University Press: New York, NY, 1991. xix + 444 pp. Figs., photos, and tables. $59.50. Desoite the recent labors of doseoh Needham and "then. w h n ical science in modem China has never been the subject of a sustained study. Reardon-Anderson is a n experienced sinologist writing under the aegis of the East Asian Institute of Columbia University, and this work, his first major foray into the history of science, is a fine performance. (In the preface he offers a word of advice to his fellow sinalagists: "Science is not that hard!") In contrast to fields such ss medicine and engineering that grew from traditional contexts, chemistry was introduced into nineteenth-century China entirely as a Western product. Indeed, the first hook in the Chinese language that even cursorily described post-alchemical Western chemistry--a translation of an elementary British treatise covering all of the sciences-was only published in 1855. Missionaries and other Westerners, helped by a small "radical fringe of failed literati" among the Chinese, attempted thereafter, mostly unsuccessfully considering the political and cultural climate, to introduce Western ehemistry. This effort was fmally endorsed and aided by the government after the military shocks of the 1890's, but the chaotic conditions in the first part of this century impeded substantial rooting of the science. Reardon-Anderson suggests that the most promising time for chemistry during the period covered here was the "Nanking Decade" (1927-1937) under the Nationalist regime. A western-oriented urban Chinese intelligentsia joined forces with Chinese entrepreneurs and with foreign governmental agencies and private philanthropists to create the conditions under which Natianalist seience-oriented institutions could flourish. These efforts were derailed by the Japanese invasion, which ushered in the devastation of World War 11. The author's story stops with the Communist victary in 1949, though he offers some hriefglimpses a t the last 40 years. Reardon-Anderson pays more attention to chemical technology and engineering than to basic research, for the reason that ariginal research in Western chemistry never really took hold among the Chinese during the period covered, not even during the high point of the pre-war period. Although not a chemist himself, the author does not hesitate to enter into technical discussions, and treats them competently. However, the thematic center of gravity of the book is the studv of interactions between ~oliticaVcultural movements and the emergence and growth o f scientific tspecifically chem~cal institut~ons.The hrstury olChinn dunng the last two renturras provides a fertile and hirherro unexplo~tedfield for (Continued on page A631

Reviewed in This Issue Reviewer Steven S. Zumdahl, Basic Chemistry James Reardon-Anderson, The Study of Change: Chemistry in China, 1840-1949 Titles of Interest Monographs New Volumes in Continuing Series


Journal of Chemical Education

R.D. Braun Alan J. Rocke